Painting the Fall

It felt a lot like summer today …75 degrees!  WOW!  The Sheriff and I spent quite a bit of time outdoors playing today, but, I also set up a craft project for him that I saw on Pinterest.  The project was painting leaves with chalk markers.  Chalk markers?  I’ve never heard of them and since we have plenty of washable paint, I thought painting outside would be so much fun and no need to worry about paint everywhere!  So.....we gathered up our paint and headed outside to enjoy this absolutely gorgeous day!
We started out by gathering some leaves from the ground; we wanted leaves that still had some life in them and weren’t too brittle. 
I set up our little table (perfect size for the sheriff) and divided the paint into little single serve applesauce containers.  The Sheriff loves applesauce and from time to time, I will buy these little cups as a treat.  I started collecting the empty containers because I knew at one point they would be good for something like this!  I poured a little in each cup this way if the Sheriff decided to mix, he wouldn't mix full bottle of paint.  

Let the fun & creativity begin…

Painting his leaves….

Once we ran out of leaves, we took a walk to find more and discovered some other little treasures that we could paint.  We found rocks, pine cones and even tree bark!  Here he is painting a really cool stick he found with all sorts of burrows in it.

Here are the finished projects.  These leaves are going to look fantastic in our home! I might even put magnets on the back of the tree bark--he will love seeing this on the fridge.  

Happy Fall Y’all…….. The Lewis’

Sharing at the Simple Saturday Blog Hop

Homemade Ice-Cream ...Finally!

Well, I finally did it--I bought an ice-cream maker!  I have always wanted to have one of my own, but never did the research to see how difficult it was to make homemade ice-cream!  Turns out, it’s very easy to make and did I mention…delicious!
I started out by looking at the various models, their cost and the reviews on Amazon.  I had a few favorites picked out, but still wasn’t sure.  I decided to ask a homesteading group on Facebook what their favorite model was.  Come to find out, one of the models that I selected was also a favorite of three ladies in the community, so I decided to go with that one. 

For those of you who don’t me, I love a good bargain!  I also don't mind purchasing used items as long as they are in good, working condition.  Personally, I think that you can find so many great deals at places like second hand stores, Ebay, Craigslist or even Amazon’s community.  I decided on a Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt, Ice-Cream and Sorbet maker from Ebay.  The maker had been used twice and came in the box with the instructions and recipe book.  In addition, this little gem came with an extra freezer bowl which many Amazon reviewers suggested purchasing.  Woohooo.  Now I’m not going to lie, the extra freezer bowl was a HUGE bonus, but the color of this ice cream maker screams FUN and also won my heart because it goes with my matching turquoise cow butter dish and cow creamer!!!  You can check them out by clicking here

Here’s my maker…..

So far I have made strawberry and chocolate ice cream right from recipe book that came with the machine and they are FANTASTIC!  All you need is milk, heavy cream, sugar, pure vanilla, strawberries and you have delicious, homemade strawberry ice-cream!   Want chocolate ice cream?  Same recipe but use unsweetened cocoa powder in place of the strawberries and viola!  While the chocolate was mixing, I couldn’t  help myself so I got a spoon and dug right in.  The flavor and texture reminded me of a Wendy’s© Frosty!!!  YUM. 

Here’s my machine working hard making my first batch of strawberry which tasted fresh and creamy!  Isn’t it pretty?

Once the ice-cream is finished mixing, it has to be stored in a freezer friendly container.   I still have my old fashioned ice-cream keeper/saver from Tupperware© do you?  I really like this container and it works perfectly for storing fresh homemade ice cream. 

 And here’s the finished product for the Mayor. 

The second time I made chocolate ice-cream, the Sheriff wanted to help.  He mixed everything together by hand and even turned on the machine for me.  He did an AWESOME job and reaped all the benefits of his hard work.  His favorite treat, a cup of coffee milk with a scoop of chocolate ice-cream and a straw (can’t forget the straw) he loves it!   Here he is below, watching his chocolate ice-cream go round and round.

Have you made homemade ice-cream before?  If so, what is your favorite flavor?  And how do you store  your ice-cream?  I would love to hear from you!

Until next time y’all……it’s summertime….don’t forget the ice-cream!


Patriotic Bandanna Wreath

Is there anything more country & farm-ish than bandannas?  I love bandannas and Old Glory, so when I saw this wreath on Pinterest, I just knew I had to make it.  It’s super easy too, but I do want to warn you that this can be costly (at least in my opinion) if you do not purchase the bandannas on sale.  AC Moore sells the bandannas for $2.00 a piece, and if you make the same exact wreath as mine, it will cost you $24.00 for the bandannas unless you buy them on sale.  I was able to pick mine up on sale at AC Moore for 2/$3.00 and save a few bucks. 
The first tutorial I found used an 18 inch wreath that used 7 of each color for a total of 21 bandannas.  So I bought what I needed, but after I made it, I just didn’t like it; it was too big for me (see below). 

I returned the 18 inch and bought a 10 inch as that size worked much better for me; but feel free to use whatever size works for your home.  If you decide to use a different size wreath, I would suggest cutting the bandannas as you go along so you can return the extra, or use the extra for cloth napkins like we do!  YAY!
I followed an easy tutorial; you can click on the link below:

If you plan on making a 10 inch wreath like mine, here is what you’ll need:
10 inch wire wreath
4 bandannas of each color- so 12 in total
Wooden stars (I’ve seen other wreaths with felt stars, paper stars or metal stars) - I could not find white stars, so I had to buy them natural and paint them white.
Glue gun

I also preferred this tutorial because you use bandannas that are cut in half whereas other wreaths use a full bandanna which will cost even more money.  Please note, if you are planning on making a 10 inch wreath, you will have a ½ piece of bandanna of each color left over.  That ½ piece is great for the Sheriff to keep in his pocket to wipe his brown on hot sweaty days!! 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me or leave me a comment.  If you do make the wreath, please post a picture below, I would love to see it! 

Happy Memorial Day to everyone….
let us not forget those who have given their lives so that we can live ours.....

Till next time y'all....

Sacrifices & the cost of living simple

Sacrifices, we’ve all done them; some are easy and some, not so easy.  In an effort to move closer to our dream of living on our farm, we had to sacrifice.  The first sacrifice was selling our home that my husband and I built together.  It took us 10 years to finish the home and then in the 10th year, we sold the house.  While we are extremely excited about moving to the farm, the decision to sell the house was bitter sweet.  We dreamed that house together, worked endlessly on it (through the rain, snow and the heat!) and made some wonderful memories there.  Did I forget to mention that I left my dream kitchen behind…..that was no easy task!

Now 10 years later, our dream home has been sold and we are one step closer to our farm dream (you can read about our dream by clicking on the “about us” button).  But, before we can move into the farmhouse, there are some changes that need to take place.  Currently the farmhouse is being rented so we had to give the tenants a notice to quit and allow them the time they needed to find suitable housing.  In the meantime, we needed a place to go!  Where would we go?  We had to find a place to stay, somewhere safe, affordable and enjoyable for the Sherriff.  We wanted something out in the country, but what could we afford while juggling the bills for repairs at the farmhouse?  Let me introduce you to my new/temporary home, aka- the love shack.  My husband, being the thrifty man he is, found us a little piece of “heaven”!!!  And yes, you are seeing correctly, I’ve got my own little mobile home.  Isn’t she a beauty?

Now back to sacrificing, I signed the purchase and sales on this home without ever seeing the inside of it because I was at home with a brand new baby and put my complete trust in my husband.  My husband is extremely handy and I knew that he would make this house safe and clean for us.  However, I must admit, I was still extremely skeptical, nervous and not to mention a tad embarrassed about moving into this mobile home.  My concerns lie with the fact that most of our society today judges by what’s on the outside; what kind of car they drive, how big their home is, what brand of clothes they wear, etc, etc.  I also live in area where mobile homes aren’t really accepted and most people (if the truth be known) would not be caught living in a mobile home.  What would my family/co-workers think?   How about the neighbors?  Would they welcome us?  But I had to keep the end goal in mind- the farm and our new life with the Sherriff.  I was quickly reminded that God is in control of every area of my life and that brought me comfort.  Now that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t secretly praying that we would be able to somehow move straight into the farmhouse and avoid the mobile home entirely- after all God can do anything, right?  But that my friends, was not part of God’s Plan; and for that I am thankful because this little love shack has taught me some very valuable life lessons.  I would like to share with you some of the things I have learned by living here. 
·         I have gained more time because I’m not cleaning, organizing & maintaining a large house.  And, because I am not spending all this time on a house, I’m able to spend more time with my husband and little boy!
·         I have learned simple is better.  Our yard is just simply grass now; perfect for the Sherriff to play in.  We no longer have to worry about him damaging the manicured lawn that we once had.  In fact, the Mayor built us an outdoor fire pit which we have enjoyed eating several dinners by…it’s great!  All these things equal simple fun in our household!
·         I have learned to live with less.  Living in this small space has forced me to get rid of clutter and things I was not using.  It’s amazing how very little we need to survive, and how much clutter one can accumulate over the years!  Living with less is also less stressful, except when it comes to kitchen counter space.  However, having less counter space has helped me to be more creative in using other things to help me get the job done.  For example, using the Sherriff’s highchair or putting a cookie sheet over the top of my stove has given me extra counter space.  One thing is for sure, I will certainly have a greater appreciation for my kitchen at the farm after living in this small kitchen.  When you are passionate about cooking and baking like I am, counter space is a must!
·         I have learned to be frugal.  I now think twice about what I am purchasing because I don’t have the extra room and don’t want clutter.  Please note I am not a person who purchases unnecessarily or even on impulse, but I now ask myself, “Do I really need this? Can I find something else that I already own to do the job at hand?”  Now don’t get me wrong, I still purchase things I want, after all, the farmhouse does need a turquoise cow shaped butter dish & creamer (see below)—I just couldn’t resist—how cute!

·         Living here has also saved us money.  The cost of heating and cooling the “love shack” is significantly less than our old home which also keeps us more comfortable throughout the season and easier on our wallets.
·         Living here has truly been a very humbling experience for me.  For example, the Sheriff’s daycare is literally across the street, and it only took a few days for the entire staff to learn that we are the family that now occupies the eyesore across the street!  Or how about the daycare parents that see me pulling in the driveway or fetching my mail while they are driving by??  And how about this past Christmas, the mailman tooted his horn informing me that he had a package for me, so I went running out of the “love shack” only to come face to face with a former employee, who did a double take, but did not say a word.  Due to these humbling experiences, I am reminded daily not to judge as none of us really knows what someone else may be going through, for we all have our own struggles.  Be compassionate the next time you see someone who may not be living as you think they should be.  For God’s Word says “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Matthew 7:1-2    
·         Lastly, I am learning a whole new side of me when I step out in faith and trust God with all areas of my life.  It’s amazing how much a life can be transformed and how much one can learn when they step out in faith. 

As I gaze out the back window of my love shack, I can see the extremely large house that is located behind me.  I am quickly reminded of the house I left behind and it is with a grateful heart not regret, that I can look at the love shack and breathe a sigh of relief.  I turn my attention from the window and into my 647 sq foot house and see my little boy playing with his cars on the floor; healthy and happy because his Mama is able to spend more time with him.  

In conclusion, I thank God daily for my beautiful, cozy, “love shack” as well as teaching me to appreciate and to be content with what He has given to me. 

In case you are wondering what my family thought about the “love shack”…..they love us regardless of where we live.  My co-workers…..well, not all of them know, but they will after reading this post!  And the neighbors—well, it’s been 8 months and nobody has even looked our way, let alone introduce themselves.  I too am wondering what they think……    

Until till next time y'all.....

Made with Love by Mom!

Back on July 27, 2012........

Today was a great day! The reason it was so great is that I was able to spend it with my Mom!! We had been planning a day of sewing together for quite some time and today’s agenda included cloth napkins which we made from scraps of material and old sheets. My reasoning for doing this was so I could be more earth friendly and also so I could save some money on unnecessary paper products.

Mom simply took squares of material and sewed them (wrong sides together) leaving a space so that we could turn them right side out. Once they were turned right side out, we gave them a quick press with the iron and went around the edges with a zig-zag stitch and voila'! We created various sizes so that my husband and I could try them out and decide which ones we would prefer to use on a regular basis. Time will tell if I will need to purchase darker material for those meals that include spaghetti sauce and other stubborn staining foods.

Here is a picture of my Mom cutting the squares and getting ready to sew them together. My Mom is so creative and makes some of the most gorgeous items you have ever seen. Her new love is quilting and she has made gorgeous quilts, quillows (a quilt that wraps up to form a pillow—great for car trips for the kids) and place mats/table runners. I’m not quite ready for quilting, and not sure I am up for the challenge, but I love to see the new projects that she is tackling.

Here is Mom putting on the finishing touches on the daisy napkins.

She also organized my sewing container.....thanks Mom!

Here are the finished projects….different sizes and patterns….I can’t wait to use them!

Mom made sure that she left a special tag on one of my napkins. This message is not only true for the napkins but for everything that Mom does. God has blessed me with such a loving and caring Mother who puts love in everything she does. Whatever task is ahead of her, and whether it’s for family, friend or stranger, she puts love into it. I want her to know how special she is to me and how much I cherish the time that we spend together. Whenever I use these napkins, I will always remember you Mom, telling me to "use my napkin".

Fast forward 3 years, I'm still using the cloth napkins that Mom and I made together. I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised how well they have held up! They are still in tact, still very strong and have very little stains for being used for three years. I have a picture of them below.

My plan was to make more cloth napkins, but I was blessed to become pregnant and now have a precious 2 year old boy- aka- the Sheriff. Time has not allowed me to make any more cloth napkins, but it has not stopped me from using them.

I was watching an episode of the Pioneer Woman and she uses bandannas for cloth napkins which I thought was just awesome and so country!!! She had all sorts of colors ranging from primary to primitive to fluorescent. Me being the country girl I am, I wanted to stick with the primary colors as they reminded me of Americana Country (my collection is pictured below). I checked out the internet for the best value and ended up at AC Moore where I bought 2 to try. Before I invested in them, I wanted to make sure that they too would handle the abuse that our homemade napkins have taken. One year later, my bandannas are still going strong; in fact, these are perfect for the Sheriff because they are much bigger than the ones Mom and I made, so he puts these over his lap when he's eating. It's great!!! He loves them so much, that he now asks for his napkin when he eats.

I also want to note that we will reuse our napkins, if they are not overly soiled, before tossing them in the dirty laundry. Let's face many times have you had meal and all that has ended up on your napkin are crumbs? I know that has happened to me, so I simply take my cloth napkins and give it a good shake over the sink and return it to my spot on the table for the next meal. There are times when I'll barely use a quarter of the bandanna, so when times like these arise, I will just simply fold over the napkin and use the other side, as they are large enough for more than one meal. Now don't worry, we do not keep dirty napkins hanging around because we are trying to be more green..... we are good stewards of our napkins and know when laundering is needed ... :o)

Mom had some leftover material that she did not want to dispose of, so she made me a few more napkins....yay! 

I love you Mom!

Are you using cloth napkins? If so, I would love to hear how you got started on cloth napkins. If your not using them, I hope this post has inspired you to either make some or buy me, you will love them!
In what other ways are you becoming more green?

Till next time y'all......

Finally....a Clothesline!

Finally……I have my own clothesline!!!!!  Isn’t this just great???!!!

I know…. you are probably thinking, “What’s the big deal?”  Well, I’ve wanted a clothesline for years now, but couldn’t have one where I lived before; so in order to make up for the loss of the clothesline, I used my Mom’s old fashion dryer rack that she had given to me (see below).  This rack worked well when it was super hot outside and the wind wasn’t strong.  I can’t tell you how many times I would look out the window only to find that the wind had knocked over my rack and all of my clothes were in a wet and dirty heap!  The best part of it all, try picking this thing up after it’s fallen over with clothes attached to it; I felt like I was being attacked by own laundry! 
I told the Mayor that I wanted my own clothesline when we move into our temporary home;  a place where I can watch my clean laundry blowing freely in the breeze!!!  Shortly after we moved in, my father in law told me that he bought me a “clothes drier” and that he was going to put it up for me!  YAY!  I was super excited!!!!  Isn’t it just beautiful? And I’m saving energy and using natural resources just like my ancestors did!   Now all I have to do is get my hedge clippers and give that bush a little trim! 
Does anyone have a clothesline story to share?  How about tips/suggestions on making clothes a bit softer when using nature to dry them?  I asked my good friend Jen if her bath towels came out stiff after being line dried, she replied “yes, but it’s like having a natural loofah!”  What a wonderful way to look at stiff towels…..I never quite thought of it that way!    
Until next time y'all……

Fixin’ Fences & Making Memories

As we prepare to bring our small herd over to our farm, the fencin’ needed fixin’ first.  This part of the pasture has beautiful stone walls but, they are not high enough to keep the cows in, so adding electric fencing is a must.   Pictured below is the Mayor and his father winding up the barbed wire. 

This was the first time I was able to wander through the pasture without the Sheriff (as he was having himself a tractor ride) and it was just awesome.  I think fields are just one of the most peaceful things on this earth; put some animals grazing on them and you’ve got yourself a little piece of heaven here on earth!!!  The picture below shows the opposite side of the pasture and those stone walls are plenty high and will work just fine without an electric fence.  Our cows are going to love all of this green grass as well as the large shelter for them to relax in.

Here is a picture of the old dairy barn.  This poor thing needs so much work, but with a little love and a lot of sweat, we will restore it;  keeping it as close as possible to the original dairy barn. My hope is that this barn will not only serve as a home/safe haven for our animals, but also a special place for my little boy to experience life events and lessons.  Things such as picnics on rainy days, places to hide when we play hide and seek, fixin’ tractors, caring for his farm animals and teaching him about the awesome miracle of bringing a new cow into the world, and the painful experience when we lose one.  I can picture him sharing special moments in the barn with his father as he gets older, perhaps restoring an old car, having his first beer or just having man to man talks.  My wish too is that my son will have a close relationship with God and that perhaps this barn will allow him to have a quiet spot to talk and develop that relationship with God.  These are just a few of the many things that I wish for this barn.    

Here's the view from the kitchen window……it doesn’t get any better than this.  This is our pasture with our neighbors farm in the distance. 

Here’s the Sheriff!  He’ll be driving that tractor before I know it.  He absolutely loves being on his farm!

I took a walk over to the stone wall that borders our neighbor’s property because I wanted to take in the beauty of my neighbor’s field.  As I hoisted myself up on and over the stone wall, I was not prepared to for what I saw!  WOW is all I said as I hung onto the wall and stared at the small cemetery that stared back at me!  Now I know some would be “creeped out” by this, but all I could think of is history and how cool is this???  I’m curious to know who is buried there, and did they live on my farm, or perhaps my neighbors farm?  I’m hoping at some point to talk with some of the neighbors to find out whatever I can.  Stay tuned for more on that.   WOW!

There is just something I love about the picture below; perhaps it’s the love I have always had for silo’s?  I think it's a subtle reminder of how very small I am in this world.  

Here’s the Sheriff...out and about discovering in his pasture!!!  He managed to find the only dandelion flower in the whole pasture.  He is just so cute! 

Dadda and son sharing a ride together on the tractor.

And before we left for the day, the Sheriff asked if he could  walk in the mud puddles….I couldn’t resist!  Remember, life’s too short not to enjoy mud go ahead.....get your shoes, or even better, your feet muddy!    

Until next time y'all.......

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