Monday, November 28, 2011

{Prepping for Christmas}

It's that time of year to put up the tree , gather the stockings, and start thinking about finishing up our Christmas shopping......for me that also includes wrapping up some Holiday decorations!! I made the above table runner last week. It's really just a re-made panel, all I did was add a border, batting, some  machine quilting and binding to it. Easy peasy, but it's cute!
This table topper was also part of that same panel. I added two borders on this I do love instant gratification projects that turn out quick and cute. Who doesn't though?
This "Merry Christmas" pennant was actually what started the whole.....get some Christmas decorations sewed up party! Sorry the picture isn't a better one, but I made the whole thing with scrap fabric I had on that!
Here is our little Country Christmas tree....she's small but she works.
I love these little wooden blocks!
My favorite ornament on the tree...thanks to my mom who gave it to us!
Although I adore these little burlap snowmen too....
Mini-stocking......yes please.....
These rusty jiggle stars are also so fun!
My last little project was changing the fabric behind my old windows...snowmen I LOVE they can stay up all winter! I also love the burlap stocking I found one year for all the kids.

What about you are all decorated up for the season yet? 
If your posting about it leave me a link, I'd LOVE to come visit you!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Hearts 2011

Day 23
2. Finishing my makeover pieces of furniture!
3. Shopping by myself
4. A vehicle to get me from here to there
5. Staying up late watching movies with my Hubby

Day 24
1. Going to a THANKSgiving breakfast!
2. Enjoying yummy food and family time
3. Pouring over the Black Friday go or not to go...
4. Sipping warm drinks on a cold day
5. Taking a nap!

Here are a picture like the turkey's we made! (link is above) I do want to caution you that they are not a "cheap" food craft. One bag of oreos only makes 15 turkeys....and that's if there are no broken one! If I had to ballpark it I would say I spent $35-40. (I did buy 3 packs of cookies, 3 bags of frosting, 2 bags of candy corn,  bags of mini Reese cups, one box of whoppers, and a container of little chocolate balls for the eyes. That being said I do think it was worth it. We don't do things like this very often and the kids really loved it. We decided to give them out to some of our neighbors, and a few widow ladies who live nearby. FUN to make FUN to deliver!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kitty Kuddling (with a K)

 We still have some KITTEN KUDDLING going on around the Gaertegang Homestead! This is last call for some (or all) of these little cuties to find new homes. (I'll even deliver them if need be.) Staying here is not an option! The mama's are going to get's a word trust me on this. If you yourself or you know someone who'd love these little furry mouse catchers please send me a message quickly.

As you can clearly see they think they are real does Julia!

Caleb is right there with Julia...holding them like they are an infant...the kittens don't see to mind!

Thankful Hearts 2011

Day 22
1. Our "new to us " refrigerator...compliments of an auction
2. A nice warm house with no where to go on this cold & windy day!
3. The FUN of re-vamping furniture
4. Getting our tickets for the Women's Conf. in INDY!!
5. My new vitamin line-up seems to really be helping me feel better!

Rhurbarb Bars

 Last week I pulled out my last stash of frozen rhubarb to try out a new recipe!! I don't know for sure where I got this recipe (torn from a magazine) but I'm thinking the ALL YOU magazine. It was SOOOOOOOOOOO incredible, yummy and delicious it made me sad we didn't have anymore rhubarb to make it again!!

1. Line a 9X13 pan with foil and spray with Pam
2. In a medium bowl stir together 3 cups of rhubarb, 1 cup of sugar, & 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, & cover & simmer for about 5 min.
3. In a small bowl add 1/2 cup of sugar, & 2 tablespoons of flour. Add to the pan mixture and stir for about 1 minute until thick. Remove from heat. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Pre-Heat oven to 375.
4. Stir together 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 1/2 cups of quick oats, 1 cup of brown sugar, & 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Using a pastry blender cut in 1 cup of shortening until mixture is coarse crumbs. Reserve 1 cup of crumbs! You can also add 1/2 cup of walnuts or pecans....optional.
5. Press crumbs into the bottom, spread rhubarb hot mixture, then add the reserve crumbs on top. Bake for 30-35 min., until golden brown. Cool pan on wire rack. After they cool, remove bars from pan using the foil wrap to remove them from pan. Cut into desired sized bars.

I also made a batch of these yummy dinner rolls. This time I spread honey over them instead of butter like usual....just for something different. It was okay but I think we'll stick to the butter!
Hope these two ideas inspire you as all prepare to get ready for THANKSgiving!

Betty Lukens Winner!

Congrats to Carra......she is the winner of the THREE FELT SETS for FREE from Betty Lukens!

Monday, November 21, 2011


I've decided to host a HOME party featuring Uppercase Living products! Have you heard of them? I has heard of them, but never saw a catalog until just a week ago.

Have you seen adorable sayings people have on their walls of their home or business? Some of those could be from Uppercase Living! I was really impressed by their selection in their catalogs and their prices as well. I'm having my OPEN HOUSE on Monday, December 5th at 630pm. Your invited! Your also welcome to go online (follow any of the links) and order. When you go to the first screen look to the says "Associate with an OPEN HOUSE" click on the drop box and highlight my name. Order what you wish and then it will ship directly to you! LOVE THAT!! They also have LOTS of items under $20 bucks...which is perfect for gifts for Christmas!
They offer all kinds of beautiful sayings....but if you can't find just what you want you, or you have a special family saying you can create your own! They also sell re-positional items! How fun is that! The sayings that are not re-positional can simply be removed using a hair dryer, and do not damage the walls. Here are a couple inspiring pictures of the things they offer.

Erasable products!
How precious is this!! This would be great in a nursery or my Miss Julia's room!
I LOVE this photo line-up!! I'm stealing it and then adding my own saying!!

 I want to use this great idea going up our stairs....darling!


Thankful Hearts 2011

Day 21
1. Getting adjusted at the chiropractor & getting a massage!
2. Having friends over this past weekend we haven't seen in forever!!
3. The warmer temps.
4. Our Sunday School Christmas project
5. Short school week

Amazing how fast this month of THANKSgiving has flown by!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thankful Hearts 2011

DAY 19 
1. Friends who do favors
2. Clean house
3. My little girly girl
4. The quiet after all the kids go to bed
5. Holding hand with my sweetheart

DAY 20 
1. Hot chocolate on cold days
2. New highlights in my hair
3. Going to auctions 
4. Bulk grocery shopping trips (saves me so much time)
5. Meal planning (when I actually take the time to do it!)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thankful Hearts 2011

Day 18
1. Pinterest!! LOVE it! 
(You can follow me on Pinterest, click on the icon on the left of your screen)
2. The smell of leaving burning....
3. The excitement the holiday season brings
4. God's faithful promises
5. Putting up Christmas decorations with the kids.
Their eyes were sparkling with such excitement...Julia just keeps saying how beautiful the tree is :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Hearts 2011

Day 17
1. I sold my Stampin' Up bundle on Craigslist!!
2. A WONDERFUL new rhubarb bar recipe (coming soon)
3. My Husband's hardworking spirit
4. A positive outlook, even amongst uncertainty
5. Spending quiet time with my Lord, being refueled & encouraged

In case you missed what this list making is all about, or you want to catch up on what I'm thankful for start here! Thanksgiving is ONE WEEK from today....are you preparing your heart?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A NEW Way to Keep in TOUCH!

It's official, I have a FB page! Just one more way you all can keep in touch with what is going on around The Gaertegang Homestead! So just take a gander over to the left of your "friend me"! It would be so encouraging to me if you all just flooded me with to you soon!

Thankful Hearts 2011

Day 15
1. My husband's love for cooking breakfast
2. My hair appt....I always wait to long!
3. A short week of school next week
4. A clean kitchen
5. Leftovers for cooking for me! 

It's not late to start making your Thankful List!! Join the fun...start reading here! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

An Encouraging Blog Post

I've been following Laura over at Heavenly Homemakers for a least 2 years...maybe more. She wrote a really great post today and I wanted to pass it along to you all as well! Below are her words....which I agree with whole-heartily, except I do like coffee....and I only cook a fraction of things from stratch compared to her! I hope your encouraged like I was after reading it!

I do not get up before dawn each morning.  Instead, I sleep until my body is well rested, and then I get out of bed.  (It’s a novel idea – you should try it.  I call it my “we’re often up late and if I don’t get enough sleep I get sick so this is how I avoid coming down with pneumonia strategy”.)  For a long time, I’ve struggled with the way my “sleeping in” looks to others.  If I’m just getting out of bed at 7:45 am, might some think I am being lazy?  Maybe, although, if you’re feeling brave, ask my husband if I’m lazy.  He’s likely to ask you how long you’ve got so that he can give you a detailed run-down of what my days look like.  ;)
The real question should be, do you or your uncle or your neighbor’s cousin’s dog really care what time I get up in the morning?  Do I really think there are people sitting at their desk or at their kitchen table drinking coffee, pondering what time Laura gets up each morning?  If I think that people are actually doing this, how self-focused am I anyway?
Do you ever worry about stuff like this?  Are there decisions you’ve made in your life that you feel good about, or are even convicted about, yet you worry about what others might think of your decision?
For instance, I love schooling my kids at home and grinding flour to make our bread and baked goods from scratch.  I feel called by God to do these things for my family.  But I promise that I don’t sit at my kitchen table drinking coffee, pondering the fact that you might send your kids to school, buy white bread from the store or hand your kids a Twinkie for an afternoon snack.  You know why I’m not pondering your choices over a cup of coffee? Because I trust that you are living your life the way you feel God is calling you to live.  And also because I don’t like coffee.
The question is then, are we all walking around judging each other, or are we all just walking around thinking that everyone else is judging?  Do we look at what others are doing and feel “less than” because we aren’t doing what they seem to be doing?  If so, by whose standard are we living and by whose criteria are we making choices?
If we’re spending time worrying about what others think of us, it seems to me that we’re wasting a lot of God-given time that could be used in a much more productive way for the Kingdom.
I am working to believe that it really doesn’t matter what others think about the way I live my life.  What matters in my life is that I am following God’s calling for me according to scripture.  What matters is that I am listening to what He is asking me to do, serving the people He puts in my path to serve, and honoring Him in my choices and actions.
By whose standard are you living?

Thankful Hearts 2011

I'm playing thankful catch from last Saturday through today.....
DAY 12
1. Star gazing
2. a freezer full of meat
3. sleeping in
4. family time
5. teaching my children why it's important to be thankful

DAY 13
1. our pediatrician being open on Sunday mornings
2. worship music
3. corporate worship
4. teamwork when tackling a large task
5. medicine to heal my little girl

Day 14
1. The blogs I follow that encourage, inspire, & teach me new things!
2. My blog: thankful for a place to "scrapbook" our memories
3. You Tube: LOVE watching "how-to" videos!!
4. Having my own quilting studio...leave my mess & close the door :)
5. Our own school room! Such a HUGE blessing!!!

Only 10 more days till Thanksgiving.....keep making your list!
To read more about my list making start here!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Betty Lukens ~Review & Giveaway~

I had the privilege of getting to review some products from Betty Lukens. Never heard of Betty Lukens?

For over 30 years Betty Lukens, Inc. has been manufacturing quality felt visuals.

Best known for our Through the Bible Felt Sets, which continue to be shipped and used all around the world, is a valuable teaching resource. With over 600 figures and objects, this is the most complete Bible felt set available. Our focus is on providing an interactive teaching tool that helps parents, grandparents, teachers and missionaries bring the Bible to life. Bright and colorful Bible stories in felt are eye catching and appealing to captivate an audience. The Bible story manual with over 180 stories is a wonderful guide and teaching resource. The Through the Bible in Felt manual covers both the Old and New Testament which allows for a strong foundation in Biblical teachings and principles.

Our Learning Fun with Felt line includes over 30 sets to inspire children's creativity. With the moveable pieces and personal-sized play boards, they can engage in imaginative play by arranging and rearranging the pre-cut felt pieces over and over again. Each time they create new and exciting stories as they experience the fun and magic of felt and leaves a lasting impression.

With this information in mind, I ordered the Princess Dress-Up for Julia and for Zach Days of the Dinosaur. 
I liked the idea of kids getting to use their imagination, it's comes with a background board, all the pieces from these set are pre-cut, and it comes with a handy storage case! 

Perhaps the most used of our sets it our Basic Learning: Colors, Shapes, & Numbers Set.
There are so many activities you can do with just this one board. Even my older kids can practice addition, subtraction, and multiplication on this board. 


#1 Pre-Cut felt pieces (not all of them come pre-cut)
#2 Quality of the felt
#3 Kids get to use their imagination and create something new every time
#4 Portability, with the handy case you can take it along anywhere
#5 Interactive learning between adult and child, also can be used independently

If your stuck on what to get some younger kids on your list this Christmas, I would recommend checking out the Betty Lukens website for some goodies.

REMEMBER you must submit a separate comment for each entry!
1. Go to Betty Lukens and come back here & tell me which 3 you would pick.
2. FOLLOW The Gaertegang (or tell me you already do)
3. SUBSCRIBE to The Gaertegang (or tell me you already do)
4. Share this giveaway with your friend on FB!
5. Share this giveaway with your friends on Twitter!
6. Add my button to your blog! (2 entries for this one!)
7. The Gaertegang Homestead is now on FB! Click "Add as Friend" and give yourself 2 more entries!
Deadline for this giveaways is Friday November 25th at midnight! Enter NOW!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Roller Skating Party

Each year in November & December, a local roller skating rink has a skating party for all the homeschoolers in the area. We get to skate for two hours in the afternoon for $4 each (free if you want to just watch). It's great fun the kids have such a BLAST!! Julia got to skate for the first time this year. She was so excited, but realized it wasn't as easy as it looks. After skating nearly the entire two hours, she was tired but had FUN!

I love this shot of Zach, it looks like he's posing, but he's was trying not to fall......cutie!
Lance with the classic "Gaerte thumbs up".
Caleb took a second to stop and pose for me.....playing it cool.
We are already looking forward to the December skate!

Thankful Hearts 2011


Day 11
1. the gift of yet another day
2. changing seasons
3. a warm cup of coffee, hot chocolate, or tea...yum!
4. a fresh blanket of snow
5. our new soft!

To hear more about my list making or follow along go here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sticky Foams

I was at the Dollar Tree bout three weeks ago and decided to pick up a few packs of sticky foams to help keep Miss Julia occupied throughout our school morning. I found a cowboy pack, Halloween  pack, and one for Christmas. A little to my surprise the boys were just as thrilled as Julia! I thought I would share you their creations and inspire you to spend $3 at the Dollar Store which for my household included at least and hour of entertainment......and we have tons left to make more creations later! I love cheap but fun ideas for the kids to show their imagination and creativity!

Julia's creation (4yrs old) Pre-K

Zach's creation (6 yrs old) First Grade

Caleb's creation (8 yrs old) Third Grade
Lance's creation (10 yrs old) Fifth Grade

Join me tomorrow for a Review/Giveaway from Betty Lukins, and tell your friends to stop by and enter as well!

Thankful Hearts 2011

Day 10
1. watching the sun rise or sunset with amazement
2. Going on vacation alone with my hubby 
3. sitting in the fall sun reading a good book
4. watching my children light up each day their daddy comes home
5. Each day I get to stay home and school my kids (even on the hard days)

Isn't it fun to watch our list growing! We've already THANKED GOD for 50 things.....and that is only a drop in the bucket, and it only took a few minutes each day. Is your daily list making helping to keep your heart in a thankful spirit? I sure hope so! We have the flu floating around our house this week, but amongst it all I'm just thankful that my kids are "hitting the bowl"! Even in yucky stuff we can find things that are praise worthy....again it's a choice.

To follow along on my list making journey start here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

I've been making my own homemade powder laundry detergent for over a year now...maybe longer I really can't remember. I liked the idea that I could make my own for a fraction of the cost of a leading detergent, yet I could get the same cleaning power. The powder version is very quick to make and only requires purchasing three ingredients. I've always had in my head that the liquid version would require so much more time....and it seemed scary, I worried I would mess it all up! I'm laughing now as I type this because it seriously couldn't be further from the truth. The liquid version that still only requires the same three ingredients...4 if you include water...took only about 5 extra minutes! Want to know the recipe and the steps to take to make your own? It's really is easy peasy...give it a try.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
safe for HE washers
4 cups of tap water
1 bar of Fels-Naptha Soap- grated
1 cup of Washing Soda
1/2 Cup of Borax

Step One: Pour 4 cups of tap water into a sauce pan, Grate soap and add to pan. On medium heat, melt the soap, stir slowly until it's melted. (takes 5 minutes or less)
Step Two: Add Washing soda and Borax to pan. Stir slowly until mixed in. (takes about 1-2 min)
Step Three: Fill up a HALF of a 5 gallon bucket with HOT tap water, pour pan mixture into bucket, and stir again to be sure your contents are all mixed and melted.
STEP FOUR: Fill the remaining 5 gallon bucket with more tap water. Cover and let it set up over night. In the morning it should have a nice gel consistency. 
It should look something like this.
Depending on the water quality, actual usage amounts vary. As a guide start here:
Top Load Washer: Heaping 1/2 cup
HE Front Load Washer: 1/4 cup
**If you prefer a scent in your soap you can essential oils at the very end and stir the contents well.

**If your wondering where you can get a 5 gallon bucket with a lid, You can #1 call around and see if a local restaurant has any you can have for free or #2 buy one at your local hardware store.

Thankful Hearts 2011

Day 9
1. Our new computer is up and running
2. For our first day back in our school room!!
3. My nice warm bed to sleep each night
4. surprises from my husband
5. A quiet schedule with no where to be

To find out what this list making is all about or to catch up, start here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thankful Hearts 2011

Day 8 
1. My in-law family
2. The warm glow of a bonfire
3. A stroll through the woods
4. Thrift Stores
5. Finding a great sale...and using a coupon on top of that!

To see why I'm making my Thankful List, or to follow along go here!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thankful Hearts 2011

I don't know about the rest of you but I'm having a blast making my Thankful List! If you want to read more about my list making you can go here to catch up. 

1. Our basement being ready to use again!
2. Doctors with caring heart and compassionate care
3. The Lord's gift of another day
4. Thanksgiving Season
5. Bible Translation for all those still in need of God's Word

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thankful Hearts 2011

The weekend is in sight and so I'm wrapping up Day 4, 5, 6 all in one post! If you want to play catch up, you can go here.

Day Four
1. Loving Family
2. Faithful Friends
3. Fellowship with Friends & Family
4. Quiet talks with my children
5. Random "I Love You", or "Your the Best Mom Ever" from my family
Day Five
1. Weekends
2. Movie nights
3. Popcorn supper on Sunday
4. Snuggling & reading books
5. A wonderful life full of blessings
Day 6
Our 12 year anniversary!!
It seems so incredible that today we celebrate 12 years of marriage. God has been so good and faithful to us. Four energetic children surrounding us, and making each day memorable. I love my husband more each year, he still makes me laugh and I LOVE THAT! He was made just for me and that simply amazing! I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for us as we grow old together.
Happy Anniversary Honey!
In honor of our day my list is all about my sweetheart:
1. Your Loving Arms
2. Your Patience
3. Your Kisses
4. Your Hard Working Spirit that allows me to stay home
5. Our last 14 Years together

I hope your having fun with your own list...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful Hearts 2011

 In case you missed my post yesterday, and want to know what my family and I are doing for the month of November head over here! I hope many of you have decided to join in on the fun and are making your own lists.......
Day Three
11. paint trays...genius little things!
12. our chickens
13. DATE NIGHT with my sweet Hubby!
14. my salvation
15. smiles & giggles from my kids

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Giving Thanks.....Join the FUN!

November...really....I can't believe it! I do love fall, I think I might have mentioned it once or twice before. I have always really LOVED NOVEMBER for several reasons. To me, November kicks off the holiday season, setting the mood with the many things that I have to be thankful for! On my FB page I started yesterday listing 5 things each day in November that I am thankful for. I love what making a simple list does for my perspective......getting focused on THE GIVER of all these fantastic things on my list. I know that no matter where I am in my journey in life, there are always things to be thankful for. CHOOSING GRATITUDE IS A CHOICE.......a moment by moment choice. I wish I could say I always choose gratitude, but I'm working hard on it. If your wanting some Fall inspiration you can head over to my PINTERST page and find some!
I would like to invite you to join me in my list making this month. You don't have to have a blog and make them public, simply grab a piece of paper and start jotting them down each day. I plan to make this a family event at our house with each child making their own list of ONE thing per day they are thankful for, and on THANKSGIVING MORNING will can wake up and share them with each other. Doesn't that sound like a fun way to start off the day?
Day One
1. My Hubby
2. Hot bubble baths
3. my dream house
4. my four kiddos
5. warm sunny fall days
Day Two
6. grace
7. unconditional love
8. church family
9. a warm bed to sleep in
10. fresh, clean, uncontaminated water

I'll leave you with this quote I found on Pinterest may want to sit down it's a powerful one!

What if today God only gave you the things you thanked Him for yesterday?

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