Family traditions, hard work, and a birthday…

My heart is so full with love and happiness and peace right now.  My parents left this morning after spending a long weekend with us and lately it seems that every time they leave, I find myself saying, “This was one of the best visits ever!”
My parents are pretty chill people.  They do not have to be “entertained” when they visit and are just as content sitting at home hanging out as they are spending each day doing something outside of the house.  However, this was one of the busiest visits we’ve had in a long time.
It started a few weeks ago when I finally decided that I was ready to start my garden.  I’ve been talking about it since we moved in almost a year ago.  My dad owns a tiller that my Grandpa gave him (RIP Grandpa, I miss you and love you).  My parents live 6-7 hours from us and would need to pull their trailer to bring it on.  I felt it was a lot to ask, but my dad said it was no problem.  It was an added bonus that this was the weekend we were getting some lawn equipment from a family member and needed to use the trailer to drive to South Carolina.
We had some tire issues on the trailer, but were able to travel to South Carolina on Friday.  We were going there to pick up a riding lawn mower, among other things.  Our boys are very excited about this as they’ve been mowing an acre and a half with a push mower. My mom, my mother-in-law, Addie, and I made the trip.  It was a beautiful day and everything went very well.  And we had some pretty fun girl time!
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On Saturday, the work began.  I don’t know what kind of soil you have to deal with where you live, but we have good ole’ red Georgia clay here.  It took (and is taking) a lot of work to get the ground tilled up.  Hubby worked on it the longest, but I did enough that I was sore the next couple of days.  After we had worked it most of the day, I knelt down and ran the dirt through my hands.  In that moment, I had a flash of memories: sitting on my Grandpa’s knee riding the tractor; the rows and rows of potatoes planted between our house and my grandparents; sitting on the old swing with buckets of peas that had to be shelled; that first trip around the field on the tractor by myself; the shelves and deep freezer filled with the family’s hard work.  This country life – this farming thing – it’s in my blood.
But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall also reap bountifully.
– 2 Corinthians 9:6
After a long days work on my grandparents small farm, a rest was often taken on their front porch.  For as long as I can remember, they had the same furniture set on that porch.  After all, “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?”  It’s odd, isn’t it?  The memories that a gesture, a song, a phrase, or, in this case, a piece of furniture can hold.  I am very blessed to say I have been given the porch set that was used in so many hours of rest and reflection.  Even though it is in need of a little TLC, it will have a prime spot on our front porch as well.
We ended our visit with a small birthday celebration for my dad.  His birthday is not until next week, but we wanted to be able to have some cake and sing Happy Birthday.
We bought him a book that he wanted and put it in a gift bag with some colorful tissue paper.  Addie couldn’t stand having an unopened present, so she begged and begged for Papa to go ahead and open it.  The look on her face was priceless when she saw it was a book.  She looked at the book and then grabbed the bag and looked in it checking for something else.  I said, “We got Papa a book for his birthday.  Isn’t that cool?”  This was her expression:


Although she tried to look happy about it, she seemed a little confused and disappointed that all Papa got was a book!
I can’t wait to get our small farm going and growing in the years to come.  After getting the garden plot started, we plan on building a chicken coop and buying some chicks.  I will share the details as they happen!



Let’s just call it a mini-breakdown, shall we???

It’s been one of those days.  We’re coming back from a week off for Fall Break.  No one’s in the mood to do school work while it’s so beautiful outside, but it’s something we must do.
I’ve been going through somewhat of a “spiritual rehabilitation” – for lack of anything better to call it.  Not so much in the sense that I am questioning God (his blessings are evident in the simplest of things in my life), but in my desire to do better and be more.  In evaluating, I’ve began questioning my abilities and motivations.
It all came to a peak as we were trying to get through math.  The kids didn’t have the best attitude and I heard “but I don’t get it” one too many times.  So, I snapped at them.  And then I felt guilty.  Then we all ate some Halloween candy and discussed attitudes, happy faces and happy hearts, schedules, and math.
It was so much better after a little chocolate.
I was reminded of this verse:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

I’m trying to maintain too much control on this path of life and need to remember to just lift it up to God.  I thought a project was in order, so we made these:

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(Excuse the poor photo quality…my good camera’s battery was dead!)
The banner came from Emily at Jones Design Company’s November Monthly Newsletter.
The deer silhouette came from here.  I cut it out and used some scrapbooking paper to enhance it.
I hope you have a wonderfully, blessed day!


The costumes…

Halloween was a lot of fun this year.  Of course, it was a lot like Christmas – days of prepping (sewing) for just a few hours of fun.  It was worth it though!
Addie decided to be Tinkerbell:

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Justin, the Grimm Reaper:
_MG_9878Jacob, a ninja:


I hope everyone had a happy, happy Halloween!




Tinkerbell – Simplicity 2872

Grimm Reaper – Simplicity 1582

Ninja – McCall’s 2940 – but modified slightly; also, used a different mask based on this tutorial


All creatures great and small…

All things bright and beautiful,


All creatures great and small,


All things wise and wonderful:


The Lord God made them all.


Enjoying the peace and quiet at Whitley Acres today.  So much to watch and admire on this beautiful Fall day.


“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”    
– 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12


Basic pocket pants…

My latest sewing for Addie (aka Baby A) is a pair of Basic Pocket Pants from this wonderful book:

Cover of sewing book, Growing Up Sew Liberated: Handmade Clothes and Projects for Your Creative Child

My version:

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This is such a great pattern!  Easy to follow with great tips.  I love how Meg instructs to finish the seams.  I think I will use that technique on many items.

I think the contrasting fabric adds just enough detail to add interest:

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Of course, I love the little truck…

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Addie wore them today, but I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of her.  I’ll try to get one the next time she has them on.  As I said before, she LOVES pockets and these stayed filled most of the day with money, Legos, Cheerios…whatever she could get her cute little two-year-old hands on.


Pattern – Basic Pocket Pants from Growing Up Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee

Main fabric – Michael Miller Madrona Road Farmstead Petal (I bought mine here)

Contrast fabric – Michael Miller Madrona Road Broken Herringbone Pink (I bought mine here)