Friday, October 30, 2009

Finished Crocheted project



Although I only helped crochet the easy parts (hehe) my sister did the majority of it! The beret was crocheted quickly(in 1 day) and I've enjoyed wearing it. When we go bike riding, I wear it as a "snood" so my hair isn't exposed to the wind!
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Puff Slouchy Hat (beret)

From the back...
It looks slightly different from the original pattern because of the material/hook size

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Upclose...
Now that we're familiar with the pattern, we'll make adjustments to the next few!
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I really appreciate your comments/suggestions/questions at my last update, and I'm looking forward to the upcoming posts, especially answering a few questions! Please continue to stop by :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'd like to hear from you!

Dear Readers,
I'd like to get your opinion on what type of posts you're interested to see in the future! I do this every once in a while :) So if you've ever thought, "I wish Mia would post about _______" Here's an opportunity for me to try and incorporate a few fun questions, facts, topics etc. on anything!
For example, my Mother has been mentioning if I'd incorporate more homemaking posts, which I'll be doing soon!
Ideas/Posts on:
*My attire or hair care/styles
*Homemaking/decor/cleaning
*Encouragement for stay at home daughters
*More about my family or extended family
*My thoughts on youth today
*Reviews on dvd's/books
*(Or just any random question!)

Please leave a comment (come out of lurking! lol)
I love hearing from you!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Crisp, Fall day for an Old Fashioned Picnic

The picnic was a small gathering of families whom we knew, and it was a delightful day--we had so much fun! Here are a few snapshots:
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Table setting
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A young lady dressed for the occasion
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We had simple decor--everyday things from the cottage. One family brought a CD player & so Mozart was played as delightful background music the entire time :)
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I don't have an upclose picture, but this blouse is an Original shirtwaist from the late 1890's! I bought it off Ebay for a bargain price, and *love* the authentic look! It's interesting--The cotton material seems to have a firm/tighter weave and has a unique feel compared to modern cotton blouses. I'll be washing it by hand only.

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The ground was dry (it had rained the night before) so we decided to spread out the blankets/quilts and picnic the old fashioned way! After the prayer, we ate together and had really good fellowship...At one point my dad asked us, "what event or invention can you share about that happened in the 1800's?" This sparked fun conversation :)
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Beautiful Bonnet

(Her grandmother made it for her)
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Another Badminton game :)
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These two went exploring for Mica rocks

My Mother and I

Nearby Woodlands

My sister knitting--Her hands are always busy!

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The weather stayed at around 70 degrees & was partially cloudy--perfect for today! I didn't capture everything we did at the picnic, as we also had other fun games and even bubbles for the younger ones {ok, I'll admit I loved the bubbles too! } There was a wedding at the stone pavilion, and a few curious guests seem to enjoy the picnic scene/music/us running around in hats swinging badminton rackets lol. They even tried to discreetly take pictures from their cars!

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After we packed up everything to make the journey home, my Mother commented saying, "What made this unique is that its something we've always wanted to do, and done in a way we always pictured an old fashioned picnic to be like (compared to old-fashioned=grilling out, BBQ potluck etc.)" And for me, I really appreciated that everyone took the extra step to dress in attire that reflected the theme!!

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Last Thursday

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About a week ago, our family was out shopping, and stopped in an antique mall. We really enjoyed ourselves, and before we left, we were approached by an older gentleman. He said he was encouraged by our family because we were all modestly dressed and could tell we were Christians! He talked with my dad for a while, then invited us to his home & exchanged contact info before we all parted. So on Thursday, we visited their homestead! They live way out in the country, and it was so beautiful!
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Their sons are in the Dairy business, so there were dozens of cows, one of which gave birth right before we came! They showed us the garden and orchard, and offered collard/lettuce plants for us to take home!

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Butter crunch & Red leaf Lettuce

They've been homesteading there for over 30 years and own many acres of land, so it was simply inspiring to ask questions on self sufficiency and fellowship with the family!

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A Trip to Town

On Friday, my dad had the day off, so we all got ready to plant the lettuce & collards. Well, to make room, we'd have to dig up a few sweet potatoes...and we didn't have a pitchfork! So we spontaneously jumped in the car, even took the dog with us, and drove to "town" to visit the local hardware stores. We drove into the super small town 20 mins away, compared prices, then purchased the tool needed. Dad took long, scenic roads back to the cottage! What made it fun is how focused/purposeful the trip to town was-- we drove all that way for one tool!
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Here's one of the potatoes we uprooted...Most of the potato plants we'll leave alone until mid-November.

These are ready to be planted!
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Dew drops
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Planting...
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"Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour" 1 Corinthians 3:8



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Simply Wednesday

The OldFashioned Picnic is still scheduled for this Saturday--Oct 24th.
11 am-3 pm at Indian Springs Park
A time for fellowship and a few games :)
We look forward to seeing you there, *please* remember to email me if you're planning on attending! And feel free to dress up if you'd like! :)
Melodytoharmony (at) Gmail.com
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This morning my sister continued working on a Slouch Beret she's crocheting for me :)
After breakfast, we sat outside and had a lovely time!
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Tom Kitten says, "I think you skipped a stitch!"

To see the pattern, click Here (The pattern turned out to be small, so she increased to make it larger.)
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While my sister crocheted, I read out-loud a chapter of 'The Last Sin Eater' by Francine Rivers.
It's an excellent book, and we took turns reading and crocheting together.
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I've been blessed to have such a lovely sister. We're complete opposites in personalities(harmoniously compatible!), but she laughs at all my jokes, accents and stories (hehe) and I know that if I need her help during the most inconvenient time, or opinion on a song I wrote, she's always willing to sacrifice her time for others... A blessing indeed. Hope y'all have had a great week thus far!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"That you also aspire to...

Lead a quiet life...
Being at home doesn't necessarily mean you're guaranteed a "quiet life". Distractions can easily pull oneself away from the home, even if it's a good thing. I've learned that we're not obligated to sign up for every little get-together or event :) Even though that sounds elementary, at first it was difficult to say "No" to the temptations of spontaneous invitations or events. Even though it could be great, sometimes it's not worth the stress of a late night, or a kitchen left in disrepair due to leaving in haste! --But it's been wonderful to spend most of the week at home doing projects, and not constantly being out.
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Mind your own business...
"Be still, and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10
Wrapped in a shawl, I sipped on hot tea as I searched the scriptures--And I always find it so relaxing to take as much time as needed to literally "be still" and read with an open heart.
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And to work with your own hands...
"I believe that when one can grow to the point where he loves his work, this gives him a kind of strength
that is most valuable." Booker T. Washington
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I had mentioned in a previous post that as I use this time at home to learn and grow, my short-comings are addressed (by my parents), and I receive any advice/helpful instruction from there, as they know my heart and have my best interests in mind . This is so beneficial! If I become dissatisfied or lazy in my work, I have to remember to do everything unto the Lord-- enjoying being at home, and eager to learn and work with my hands. Doing things the right way isn't always the quickest and easiest..but in the long run? A blessing.

..as we commanded you." 1 Thessalonians 4:11
I don't know about you, but I find this "command" beautiful!
When I think of 'Living a quiet life', I think of
Rest, peace, assurance, hard work, and a pleasant countenance.
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Today I decided to bake bread, and it turned out perfect!!
Dutch Apple Bread
In a large bowl:
*1 stick butter
*1/2 cup oil
*2 cups homemade brown sugar
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Homemade Brown Sugar recipe:
Have you ever looked at the ingredients in packaged brown sugar? It's corn syrup solids!! As a delicious alternative, I make my own brown sugar. It's super easy, fast, and gives desserts the "old fashioned" taste.
Ingredients: 1.5 TBsp Molasses + 1 cup Sugar=1 cup Brown sugar. That's it!
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After mixing the butter, oil and sugar together, I add:
*4 large eggs
*3 tsp vanilla
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In a separate bowl, I sift together:
*4 cups wheat flour
*2 tsp baking soda
*1/2 tsp salt
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This is optional, but I highly recommend it!
In a small bowl add:
*1/2 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
Pour hot water over the cranberries(not too much) and cover bowl with plastic wrap.
This process is often used for raisins to "plump" them up before use in baking :)
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Alternately pour into butter/sugar mixture:
*2/3 cup apple juice
*Dry ingredients
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Chop 2 apples (I used Gala & Granny Smith) into small pieces:
*about 2.5 cups
Then fold apples into batter...
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Drain cranberry liquid elsewhere, then add berries to mixture.
*Pour batter into 2 greased and floured loaf pans
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Crumb Topping:
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tsp Cinnamon
6 TBsp Butter pieces
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Add crumb topping to the tops of bread before putting loaves into oven!
(I didn't use all of the topping)
Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 45 mins or until done.
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Ahh, the smell of bread baking is so comforting!! lol

It turned out delicious--not too dense, but warm and flavorful, without being heavy. My dad especially enjoyed this, so I'll try this recipe in muffin form so he can take some to work!
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Friday, October 9, 2009

In Preparation


"How often do you/your family use candles instead of electric lights? Do you heat the house with wood?" *AJ from Texas
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This question goes perfectly with what my family has been discussing lately--but first, I'll answer:
During this time of year(especially winter) Almost everyday. We often use candles instead of lights during the evening, especially while we're eating a meal. There's something about that rich glow that makes the family meal table more special.
We've made it through the past winter without central heating (only a few electric space heaters) and that worked out well--Although we've talked of using the fireplace for heat this year, we still have to have it cleaned. Until then, we'll go without central heat in the following months.
We had a family discussion about preparation, and I wanted to share a few things we talked about!
We're always on the lookout for books, and enjoy having many on different subjects! My Dad mentioned this: "If the libraries shut down or closed for most of the week, would we have sufficient reading material at home?"
This also convicted me to not put so much dependency on the digital world...I'll admit, I have many more digital photos on the computer, than photos that are printed! It's interesting, the physical communication/escape (hand-written letters & recipes, pictures, "visiting" a friend, reading books) can all be accomplished online. Just a thought!
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*What if your electricity went out for 3 days? How would you prepare meals and does this affect your well/tap water supply?
*Do you have enough candles or kerosene lamps at home for each room?
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I know we've all had "power outages" at one time or another :) No matter how long or short it goes on for, whether you panic or get excited, Its just all-around comforting to feel (somewhat) prepared.
We have well water, so unfortunately if the power goes out....the water stops. You know that feeling of suddenly becoming extremely thirsty...lol

So we're keeping jugs of water in the cabinet for reserve.
I didn't go too far into this topic, but I'd love to hear your thoughts!
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Natural Decor

Braiding the Goldenrod blooms...

After braiding with Goldenrod into a wreath, my sister hung it upon the door. Afterwards, we went out to the field to pick more flowers :)

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My curious cat loves to help...

Looking for more areas to harvest flowers....

My sister picked a beautiful bouquet...

When we came inside, I caught my Mother on her way outside. She inspires me daily as she delights in her role as Help meet, Mother & Friend

After braiding the tall grass, my sister arranged the flowers together...

Into a lovely wreath!

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8