Monday, May 31, 2010

Mmmmm Yummy....Fabrics....

Over that last week I have been SUPER EXCITED that I have been able to visit not one, but TWO Quilt shops!!!!  Here is a little sneak peak of what some of my upcoming projects might look like. Just an FYI: The first two pictures show fabric from a new quilt ship that is literally 5 minutes from me!!! Ohhhh how wonderful it is to have a shop so nearby! The 3rd & 4th photos are from another store that was only about 10 minutes from where we camped this past week!

 I am planning on using this fabric to make a purse....ohhhh I can hardly wait!
 This fabric is making me a tote bag.
 Caleb thinks that I need to make him a quilt now since the other two boys have one. He helped me choose out these fabrics. I will have extra so I also am planning on making a table cloth or long table runner for my dinning table.
While I was there, I thought I would check out the "girly fabrics", seems reasonable enough right? Well looky what I found......super fun fabrics for a Julia quilt. The top fabric is actually the backing for the quilt, it's purple, even though it looks blue in the picture.

I will share finished pictures of my projects....when they are completed...,no promised timetable on any of these projects!


Friday, May 28, 2010

What I Used for MORE Storage

 Since my crafting area has been in full swing lately I have really been wanting to get it a little more organized. I really wanted to get some more storage that was easily seen and easily to grab when I need it. This is what I came up with......

 I remember seeing this idea in a quilting magazine years ago. They actually used a changing table to display their quilt collection. I decided it would make a great storage solution as well. For some reason we had not picked it yet even though we haven't used it for at least 2 years.....well I guess that came in handy this time! Don't be to impressed it is not really pretty....If I really wanted it to look cute I would have maybe painted it......I feeling lazy and just wanted to throw my things on it instead!
 I left the top right section empty because I knew that it would make a GREAT card making spot. I have my stamping supplies on the 2nd shelf, and my quilting fabric on the bottom. One stack of quilting books/magazines on the left and stamping books on the right.

So the next time you need a storage solution, first look around the things you already have and think a little outside the box. You just be inspired to save yourself some $$$ and use something you already have....which will give you more $$$$$ to spend on crafting!!!!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Just for the JOY of it!

 One of the things bringing me JOY lately is my beautiful blooming landscape outside. I seriously just LOVE to sit and stare and God's creation. I think it's so amazing that He created ALL the gorgeous flowers just for us to enJOY! Here is my first bouquet of flowers I picked to bring the beauty inside. I also love this little sign...I honestly don't remember where I bought it (which is rare for me), but I need this daily reminder.

Feel free to go visit Just for the JOY of it!


Quilt Completed!

 I am totally thrilled that I got "Zach's Quilt" done for him this weekend. Zach had requested that I make him a quilt earlier in the year, which I started on....and then it got warm. When the weather warmed up, the sewing machine went into hibernation mode. Now that the landscape projects are out of the way for now (both of them), the garden is planted, and we finished up school last week. So now I felt like I finally had the time to devote to the project again. Here is the finished project.

This quilt is a "lap size". Perfect for my little 5 yr to crawl under and snuggle up.
 Here is a shot of the backing. Maybe not my favorite, but it looks good.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Lance!

 A HAPPY B-DAY shout out to my oldest man! Today is his 9th Birthday!! He is thrilled with his new skateboard that he scored from us this morning. Even more exciting is that we are kicking off our camping vacation today as well...BONUS! We love and adore you Lance. We appreciate the young man you are quickly becoming and couldn't be more pleased with your walk with the Lord.

LOVE YOU BUDDY.....Mom & Dad


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Garden Update!

Well, you might have noticed I have been missing for several days. Not missing really, just hammering out a few things on my "To-Do List". Last Thursday I was able to finish putting in the GARDEN!!! Just in time to, because in my area there was a couple days of good rain.....and then  very soggy ground everywhere. So now it a sweet time! Everything is planted.....and I don't have to weed anything! Just relax and give things a chance to get growing!! Here are some pictures of garden and what is already growing.

  Can you believe that these plants are just from last year? I can't! They are so lush and thick and gorgeous! I can't wait to eat em'!
 Ohhhhh ya and here are some of them growing.
 A girlfriend of mine gave me a different variety of strawberries starts. It is a lot less painful to snap off the flowers on these guys....since we know we still have strawberries coming from our other plants! Next year our harvest should be even more abundant!!
 The rhubarb is also doing great, I think so anyway. I have never grown it before. I am dreaming of the yummy  things I will make for my hubby....rhubarb is his favorite!
 Here is my mixed batch of lettuce. Before planting I mixed all my spinach and lettuces together and then sprinkled them onto the soil. Some really smart lady gave me that hint! She said it will give you an instant mixed salad when you harvest it.....I know smart, right?
 My onions are doing well. These are a sweet variety I have planted.
 My pumpkins are sprouting out of the soil just this week. Looks like between the four hill (2 varieties) we should have a great mess of them.
 Here are my sugar snap peas. I have never grown these before either, so I don't really know what to expect from them. They are doing well as well as the second planting of them that I did.

I planted several different rows of flowers this year as well. So I am SUPER excited about having more flowers to cut an bring in the house to enjoy!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Have you Heard of

I had never heard of until recently, but I am glad to know about it now! is a company that sends you FREE products to try!! YEP FREE! The point of this being that you will share your opinions of these products throughout your social networks: Facebook, Twitter, your blog or website, and word of mouth.

Go here if your interested in scoring some FREE products: JOIN SMILE.LY

From Scratch~Lotion Bars

 Last week, along with making homemade lye bar soap, I made lotion bars. What are lotion bars you ask? Lotion bars are WONDERFUL! You shower like usual washing with your soap and then right before you get out you rub the lotion bar over your skin. You use your towel to pat dry you skin. Lotion bars are used in place of putting lotion on. I LOVE mine, and it leaves my skin feeling amazingly soft!! Some people also refer to these as massage bars. The recipe is simple and the supply list is short. Making these a fun do-it-yourself project!

Here are the need ingredients:

3oz. Beeswax
3oz. Shea Butter
3oz. Cocoa Butter
3oz. Jojoba Oil

I doubled this recipe to fill my molds. You simply melt the ingredients together in the microwave. Then pour it directly into the molds. Let it sit for several hours. Mine only took about 2 hours. I would recommend some a silicon mold like this one...they slide out super easy! I totally LOVE these molds....THANKS to my friend Jenny for the mold! Aren't these adorable!!

Again I am linking up to 8 Muddy Boots' series "From Scratch" and Good, True and Beautiful's series "Just for the Joy of it"

Next week I will be linking up on how I made Body Butter.....aka: The best lotion EVER in my book!


Garage Sale Finds....

 I have been wanting some of these big containers to store my flour. I was thrilled when I bought them for $1 each last Saturday!!
 I got this corner shelf for $10 about a month ago. LOVE IT!! The grapevine tree I got for $2 last year I think. The white bird house for $1 last year as well. Ohhh ya I also got an all wood end table for $8! (sorry no pic)
 These cool bottles are also on that shelf! I bought them for $1 each. I plan to store herbs or spices in them in the near future.
 I am always looking for educational resources. I found this fun puzzles with the beads for the younger kiddos. I also got a school zone book for Lance for .50....gotta love that!

I am okay with the fact that my house is furnished 95% with auction, used, or garage sale finds. That has saved us a buddle of money and allows to still decorate with the things I like. Of course it would be super fun to have ALL NEW things, but that just isn't how we roll around here.

Hope your finding bargains this Spring as well........HAPPY hunting!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Flower pictures

 This year I have been using perennials in my containers that I have scattered around the landscape. I really like the idea of when the flowers are done blooming for the season then I can plant them in the ground somewhere to bloom again next year.
 I also love using bargains that I find at garage sales to "primitive up" the look around here.
 I have had this great little screen for a few years. This year I have found this great galvanized watering can for $1, the blue pottery piece (very heavy) for $3, and the great green bucket for $1.

I plan to share some more garage sale finds tomorrow...just for the fun of it!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

4-H Season has Begun!

 Can you guess what excites three little boys? I'll give you a little hint: they stink, my boys try to ride them, and they are our first livestock 4-H project.......Did I mention they stink?
 Here are Jacob and John our two new least until the 4-H fair comes and goes in July.
 They really tolerate the torture playing my children do with them very well. The pigs don't seem to be bothered at all that they are loud, and giddy with excitement to be around them. The boys favorite pass time as of late is to ride these poor pigs....until they fall off in the mud....or poop. Then they laugh and hop on again. I think I will chalk it up to good exercise for the pigs, and go with it!

I know nothing about pigs, I never took them as a project in 4-H. I am not sure that I really want to learn anything about them either. Well maybe I do want to know how much it will cost me to make one of these lovely things into ham and bacon in July. Besides that I've got nothing!

Organic Valley Product Review

Below is some information from their website:
Organic Valley, the farmer-owned cooperative, has been around since long before there was a government-sanctified definition of organic. We had to create our own standards, and to this day our definition of organic goes above and beyond the strict organic production rules of the USDA. We think of organic in terms of interdependence—between customers, farmers, employees, communities, animals, and the earth. We consider all of these relationships when we produce our organic milk, organic cheese, organic butter, organic yogurt, organic eggs, organic juice, organic soy milk, organic produce, and organic meats.

Growing Organically

When we started up in 1988, we knew that if we produced foods that were organically healthy and delicious, people would buy them. Well, it went far beyond that. Our foods began winning awards. Fans of our milk and cheese wanted more, and suggested lots of additional products. They loved the fact that we were producing such delicious foods without the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, or pesticides. Lots of farmers liked us, too. They saw our mission – saving family farms – and our cooperative business model as a real opportunity for a healthy future on their farms. Family farms from across the country joined our co-op, so we created a regional model that today lets people buy milk from farms close to home, wherever they live.

My review:
In my recent adventure to try to feed my family more wholesome foods, I discovered Organic Valley. They were very responsive to giving me some coupons so I could try out their products and see what I thought. I was sent FIVE coupons that would let me try out FIVE Organic Valley products for FREE! I was really interested to see if I could taste a difference in what I normally buy and the Organic Valley products. I sent my Hubby to the store where these products were available he came home with only cheese products. This was actually okay with me, since we go through cheese at a rapid rate. I noticed right away that the cheese seemed to be creamier. We also got to try Feta cheese for the first time. Ohhhh my the kids totally loved too for that matter! The cost to buy these cheese was $5.99 per block of cheese (sorry I don't remember the ounce amount you got for that price). To me, that was pretty steep. In the same breath, I will also say that there is alot of heart that seems to go into their products. This company is all about using local farmers to make their products. Real people, in real farming communities that make it their passion to provide others with truely the best products.One thing that is very helpful when buying these products is that Organic Valley provides provides a resource where you can go and print off wonderful coupons!! Gotta LOVE that!
 I would say the only other down side is that these products are not sold in my immediate area where I live. To get any type of selection of these great products I have to drive 35 minutes to the nearest store. So in all honestly, I would LOVE to use these products again, but I know my ability to get to town to get them is limited. So when I am in town I WILL make it a point to stop by and stock up on few things, but I know I can't use these exclusively. I hope that you will stop by and print off some coupons and try some products as well. Organic Valley also has a store locator on their site so you can check to see where the closest store to you is located.

Thank you to Organic Valley for being so willing to send me generous coupons so I could try out their products. I also am thankful for the things I have learned from there website, which helps me to be a more informed shopper!


CSN Stores Review

CSN Stores generously sent me two bird feeders of my choosing to review.

One thing that I have wanted to incorporate into my landscaping is bird feeders. I wanted to the bird feeders to not only reflect the style of our property, but be very durable and functional at the same time without breaking the bank.
 The Heritage Bird Feeder is the first feeder I chose. The style of this feeder is the first thing that drew me in, and secondly that fact the this product is MADE IN THE USA! This feeder is made of hard resin plastic making it very durable to the elements outside. I really like how easy it is to put the feed into the feeder. My children can do this all by themselves without a problem. I am very excited that just two days ago we saw our first visitors eating a snack. I would recommend this product with two thumbs up.

The Barn Hummingbird Feeder was the second feeder I chose to try out. I have wanted a hummingbird feeder for years, but for some reason had never picked one up. I have several hummingbirds each year that come to visit my coral bells, and I think this feeder will give them one more reason to come and visit. Again, this product is MADE IN THE that! It is also made of the same durable plastic material as the Heritage feeder. I really love the "barn" style of this feeder which goes along with our homestead great. I don't think it is quiet warm enough yet for my hummingbirds to come and visit me, but I will be ready when they come! Another thing that I liked was that the feeder is so reasonably priced at $14.95. I would recommend this product to anyone wanting to attract beautiful hummingbirds to their property!


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Happy 5th Birthday Zach!

Dear Zach,

I find it crazy that you are turning 5 yrs old! You are such a spit fire kind of boy, yet very gentle and loving to your mama and sister. You are great at keeping up with your big brothers, and your always willing to try anything they ask least If your outside I know that 90% of the time I will find you on the swing. Ohhhh how you love to swing! I am so proud of you and what you have accomplished during pre-school this year. I look forward to watching you run and play and learn along the way. Happy B-day my sweet little man!

LOVE, Mom (Dad too)


SOOC Saturday!

 Julia was calling me to "Come here." When I opened the door to the upstairs this is what greeted me. Of course I told her not to move and I would be right back. She was more than willing to give me a smile for the camera. Pink princess PJ's, crown, and tutu....nice combo don't you think?
Happy Saturday!
 Visit Slurping Life more more SOOC sharing!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Kitten Update...

 Well about 2 weeks we had 4 new arrivals. Our "Snowball" cat had babies. We are all LOVING them!!
 This past Sunday, they all started to open their eyes. We plan to love on them all we can for the next 6 weeks or so, because Dad has laid down the law and said we have to find homes for all the them. Anyone want an adorable kitten?

I have a few exciting things to share in the coming days about some happenings around here. Stay tuned for the!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mega Jackpot!!

I think this photo may not due this volume of clothes the credit deserves, but I think you get the idea! I "quick" stopped by a garage sale after an early morning appt., while Justin held down the fort at home. I only stopped because they had advertised in the paper that they had girls clothes. We have just hit the point were we NEED clothes. We have been sooooo blessed to have 98% of our clothes passed to us from others! Okay so ALL these clothes were .50 cents each!!!! Most all them are name brand Tommy, Old Navy, Gymboree, Children's Place, Osh Gosh, Limited, ect!! I was able to score 3T, 4T, size 5 and size 6 clothes. I got clothes for all seasons for each size including adorable bathing suits!!! Even a winter jacket for next year.....I can't even begin to tell you how completely blessed I felt "hitting the jackpot this morning." Another little funny thing, I never usually carry much cash with me. Last night I had gotten a little bundle of cash for garage sale purposes...just in time huh?

As you can tell, it doesn't take much to get me over the moon excited. To me this was a huge deal! I can honestly say I have never spent that much time nor money at ONE garage sale....soooo FUN!


Making Homemade Bar Soap.....

Last fall I attempted to made home made lye bar soap. It was a failed attempted, which was very disappointing because of the time and the supplies I had invested. I have come to the conclusion that the failure was a result of a bad recipe I had acquired. So it was no surprise to my Hubby, that I jumped at the chance to go to a soap making class when a girlfriend asked me if I was interested. I went and then felt inspired to give it another try! This process of soap making was somewhat different from what I tried in my first go around. This process involved cooking the soap in a crockpot! I won't go into total detail of how every step is done (because I realize some of you could care less), but here is an over view for those who wonder how it works.

~~Not shown in this picture~The first thing I did was mix the lye solution with the distilled water. In this step you have to be so careful. When the lye is mixed with the water is gives a chemical reaction that actually heats the solution to somewhere around 120 degrees F. I did this step outside where there was plenty of ventilation, and no kids present. Then I left the mixture to cool off while I continued on with the process. (You are wanting the solution to cool to 80 degrees F.
~~In this picture~ The next step is to carefully measure each ingredient and put it into the crockpot. Once all the ingredients are all melted check your temp on the lye solution.
 You can see in this picture that it is a nice creamy color once all the ingredients are combined. Now it's time to stir. Your aiming for a consistency that resembles thick vanilla pudding. The term they use in "soap talk" is trace. You have reached that when you can remove the spoon and move it across the mixture leaving a "trail" that in only a few seconds sinks into the mix....Make sense? After reaching that point you "cook" the soap in the crockpot until it reaches roll over. The soap will cook from the outside inward in the pot, and when it collapses on itself it is done cooking.
 The gal I took the class from recommended two mini loaf pans to use as molds for the soap. I have been unable to find metal ones at the point. Instead I decided to use yogurt cups from my stockpile. I poured the soap into the cups and then put them inside my biggest roasting pan. I then covered the cups with one big sheet of wax paper, and put an old bath towel on top, finally the lid. Then two more blankets were placed on top.
 It will look something like this! The point of all that is so the soap will cool slowly and set up properly. You then let this set for 24 hours. Then I removed all the towels and took out the cups and ran scissors down the side to cut them open and then removed the soap from the molds. Then I sliced them into individual pieces of soap. At the end of process mine looked like this!
 I was able to get 29 bars of soap from one batch. I added a strawberry fragrance to the soap, and it smells pretty good, but not overwhelming. After cutting the bars of soap you place them on brown paper and turn them once a day for one week. When you use it is up to you, but the gal that taught the class said the longer you wait to use it the harder the soap will be....because the more it drys the better and long lasting the soap will be.

I am just thrilled that is turned out like it was suppose to. Feels like redemption to me!! I am very excited to provide my family with a soap that is all natural and something I was able to make. HOW FUN!!! I was able to complete the whole process of making the soap in 2 hours. Then I had a little extra time in cutting the soap. Over all I feel it was worth the time and effort.

If you want more details and the recipe I used you can leave me a comment with an email and I will do my best to get it to you in a timely manner.

I am linking up with Good, Beautiful and True (Just for the JOY of it!) and 8 Muddy Boots (From Scratch) to share my homemade soap adventure. Stop in and say Hi to them...tell them I sent!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Flowers still blooming!

  In case you need a feast for the eyes....look at what is blooming around the house at The Gaertegang.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

FREE Pedometer from Nature's Bounty

I signed up to get a FREE pedometer from Nature's Bounty and you can too.
Visit if you want one sent to your mailbox!


Garden Update!

 It was a family affair while we worked in the garden at the end of last week. We did not get done as much as I was hoping for, but I'll take what I can get.

 Yes, that is Caleb with his winter jacket on..don't ask why....because I don't have a good answer. That child is obsessed with that jacket....
 Here is a shot of the lettuce, and rhubarb.
 My strawberries are doing fab! I am amazed at how big my plants have grown in one year. There are a ton of flowers loading all the plants. YAHOOO!!!
 I was able to get 4 hills of pumpkins planted. I also planted 2 rows of early sweet corn, Cosmos, more lettuce. I hope the weather is decent enough to get some more things in the ground this week. According to the weather man...I better not hold my


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