Friday, October 30, 2009


I finally received and barely managed to get a picture of my prize apple. Remember I won it when Rebekah was having a giveaway? Well, it was devoured in a jiffy...every single chocolaty, caramel-y bite. Sweet!
As halloween grew closer I tried to get the girls to commit to a costume idea. There was a lot of wishy-washiness going on and I wanted to make sure that I would have enough sewing/crafting time to create the costume of their choice. Their decision?...a ballerina and a princess. They plundered the dress-up box and were thrilled with their choices. My only duty was to get the hair to be just right! Sweet!

Fall festivals and pumpkin patches are always fun. Pumpkins were painted, friends were played with, new slides were enjoyed, and the day was sunny and warm. Sweet!

After a few weeks of thinking that the leaves would just turn brown and fall from the trees there are finally some beautiful colors to enjoy. I don't like the weather getting cooler...if you know me then you know I prefer the heat...but seeing everything so beautiful this time of year makes it all worth it. And besides, it was in the 70's yesterday! Sweet!

I am making progress in my knitting. My brain doesn't hurt nearly as much now. The only thing that I don't like is that I'm a bit of a perfectionist and when I make a mistake I can't just pull out a few stitches to fix it...I have to pull out the whole thing. So far it's just been some practice real projects. Crocheting, on the other hand, still comes easier to me and when I make a mistake in that, well, I just pull out the stitches to the mistake then keep on truckin'. Sweet! In all of my weirdness about farms and chickens and goats I have discovered the most wonderful of books...Backyard Homestead. It is a wealth of information and inspiration. A starting point, the beginning of real thoughts and plans and dreams. Sweet! That about sums up what we've been doing. I can't believe it's Friday again. The weeks are just flying by so fast. Thanksgiving will be here soon, and before we know it Christmas will arrive. I haven't made a dent in my list yet, but there's still time, right? Besides, we get to turn the clocks back tomorrow night and get an extra hour of sleep...sweet!

Monday, October 26, 2009

fall flashback

In October of 2006 this is what my girls looked like.
Man, oh, man, time sure does fly! I took that picture on a warm and sunny day. Rocking on the front porch was fun...and it still is. The days have been chilly lately but the front porch is still their destination of choice when it's windy and cool. Oh, how did they get so big so fast?

Yep, that's them as they are right now. So big! So much fun! So sweet! So funny! Where's the pause button 'cause I'd like to savor this moment a little while longer.

Friday, October 23, 2009

if you think i'm wierd just say so::part three

Part three...farming, fibers, and fabric. Oh yes, you heard me. I understand that this may be too much for just one post, but I thought I'd condense my weirdness so as not to make you think that I am actually weird. So let's start with farming, shall we? Now, I didn't grow up on a farm, but my grandparents have a beautiful farm and I spent many a summer there during my childhood. When I was young I loved it. The chickens, the dogs, the creek, tractor rides, veggie picking, the black snakes--okay, maybe not the snakes, but that's one reason to love the dogs, and and the cows, the stinky, adorable, velvety-nosed, mooing cows. Of course, as I got older I lost the appreciation for the farm. Being a teenager in the city didn't mesh well with spending time at the farm. I regret that now, of course, but at the time I just didn't want to be there. My grandmother knew so much...and still does...sewing (mostly without patterns), crocheting, gardening, canning, playing the piano, playing scrabble. My grandfather, the farmer, the driver of the tractor, the handler of the cows, sower and reaper of acres and acres of crops. There is so much I could have learned from them both while I was young and I didn't. But now, oh, now that I have children and have become disenchanted with city life, I long for a simpler life. A life that takes me back to the farm. Any farm. I don't want a huge farm. It wouldn't even have to qualify as a farm...a few gorgeous acres would do just fine. I want to garden in a big way so that I can do some canning to provide food for my family that we grew on our own land, in our own dirt, and was harvested with our own hands. Food that's good and fresh and can be enjoyed year-round. Some chickens would be nice, too.
(miss O age 3 helping grandma gather eggs)
I love fresh eggs, fresh brown eggs. My grandma had chickens for as long as I can remember. I love their low, long and drawn out clucking. I love the smell of sweet feed. I know with chickens comes the coop which will need to be cleaned out. I am well aware. I also want goats. Yes, you heard me, goats. Not cows so much, although I do love them, but they are considerably more work, require more land, and well, I'd have a hard time taking them to a butcher. I have wanted goats for a long time though. I have a vivid memory of a coloring book I had when I was little. A Holly Hobby-ish book, I believe, and one of the pictures was of a little girl in a buggy being pulled by two goats. Right then and there I wanted goats. Why? Well, 30 years ago it was because they were cute but now not only are they cute, they provide milk which we can drink or I can use to make cheese or soap. With a family full of lactose intolerance and sensitive skin it just makes sense to me. Maybe even an angora goat or two just for their lovely yarn potential. But now, that takes me into my new found love of fibers. Last fall I learned how to crochet and just a few weeks ago I learned how to knit. Knitting makes my brain hurt sometimes because I have to use both hands, but it is getting easier and I enjoy it. Going into a store that sells a variety of yarns is really amazing. Angora, alpaca, silk, bamboo, wool, cotton...the textures and sheen, the smoothness and softness. I mean, come on! It is so hard to choose. Thankfully my grandma has given me a ton of yarn to feed my new want for yarn. I have so many projects in my mind and several in progress. At the end of the day when the girls are in bed it is nice to relax and crochet or knit. It's quiet and relaxing.

(Shadow attacking the needles)
Something about that repetitive motion is soothing...until the cat sees the yarn moving around or hears the clicking of the needles then I have to fight him off until he gives in a curls up beside the skein of yarn to sleep. Okay, now the fabric. If you know me at all you know that it is hard to resist fabric. I do enjoy sewing and over the past year or so I have gained much more confidence in my sewing skills. I love to sew things for my girls and occasionally for myself. I enjoy sewing gifts for family and friends as well. However, as of late the sewing has come to a stand still. With homeschooling in full swing it is hard to squeeze in any sewing time and when there is time to sew I'd rather use that time to be with my girls playing or reading or something...not sitting at the machine. I can't sew while they're in bed at night because the machine is too loud. So my machine sits patiently waiting for the next project. I have some projects on my list that the girls can help me with, so when the time comes and the sewing machine is up and running it will be something that we can do together. Okay, so even though my sewing machine is resting I still love fabric. My mom and my grandma feed that obsession so there is never a lack of fabric. I am still trying to use up my stash before I actually purchase any new fabric but at the rate my suppliers feed my habit I will never need to go to the fabric store again! Unless I need more thread, of course...but that's another story.
So there you go. I love to sew which makes me love fabric, I love yummy yarn fibers so I learned to crochet and knit to justify my want of yarn, and I want to live off the land and have goats and chickens so farm living is the life for me. I want my children to appreciate hard work and to be hard workers. I want them to know where their food comes from and how to grow it themselves. I want them to appreciate and love all things handmade because handmade things are special and made with love. I want them to grow and make and appreciate and learn. I want them to sow and tend and harvest. I want them to feed and nurture and love. I want them to see in me these qualities and I want them to follow. Don't get me wrong, I love modern conveniences and life in the 21st century. However, family, homegrown, fresh, and handmade are words that I want intertwined in our vocabulary, our lives. So I'm a little weird, it's okay...
Have a great weekend. xo ANG

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

15 years

That's right. Today is my anniversary. Tim and I have been married for fifteen years. We are so blessed to have a wonderful marriage and two beautiful children.

I know that I have been blessed beyond measure with a husband who is my best friend, the smartest person I know, a hilarious comedian, and the best daddy in the world. Happy Anniversary! May the next 15 years be just as fun!

Monday, October 19, 2009

time for soup

We just had a long week of winter temperatures. It hasn't snowed yet and I don't think it will any time soon. However, my body is in shock. One day it was nearly 80 degrees, we were wearing short sleeves and flip-flops, then suddenly it's cold, rainy, and overcast for days on end. The heat has been turned on. The summer clothes have been banished to the attic and the fall/winter clothes have been washed and layered upon us. Sock feet skating across the floor has been revived. And another blanket has been added to the beds. So what does all of this mean? Well, besides the fact that we may have a long winter this year, it means that it's time for soup. I came across a recipe the other day in the Sunday paper coupons. There was no particular product being was just a soup recipe, a chicken soup recipe. Perfect! I had just baked a whole chicken for dinner and picked the bones clean to make chicken salad with the rest. But with the cold weather it seemed like soup was the best way to go. Here's the recipe...It was called
Mom's Chicken Soup Ingredients :: 4 cups chicken broth :: 1 cup shredded cooked chicken :: 1/2 cup uncooked extra wide egg noodles :: 1 stalk celery, slice :: 1 medium carrot, sliced :: ground black pepper to taste. Directions :: Heat broth, black pepper, carrot, and celery in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Add noodles and chicken, stir. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes or until noodles are tender. Stir often.
I used Progesso chicken broth, the best one I've ever used. Next time I'll have a go at making my own broth. I had almost 2 cups of chicken left from the bird so I used it all. I didn't use egg noodles...I used Schar gluten free fusilli noodles. I couldn't find their tagliatelle pasta or I would have used that. Anyway, Schar makes the absolute best gluten free pasta. It has the perfect taste and texture of fresh pasta, it's not pasty or weird in texture like some other gluten free pastas that I have tried. So if you want to go gluten free with your pasta, I definitely recommend Schar. Oh, and one cup of uncooked pasta didn't seem like enough, so I added two cups. Also I cooked the carrots and celery until they were soft then added the chicken and pasta at the end. Gluten free pasta cannot be overcooked or it will be ruined so I set the timer at the end so that the noodles would be perfect. Now, this recipe made enough for my small family of four with just one serving left over. When I make it again I will double it so we can enjoy some leftovers. The girls loved it! Tim love it! I loved it! It was so good. Definitely a keeper.
(Here's a little something new I'm's good for cold weather, too!)

So what's on your menu when it's cold outside? Any good soup recipes you want to share? Any homemade broth tips? Stay warm. xo ANG

Friday, October 16, 2009

if you think i'm weird just say so::part two

Part two...homeschooling. Whether you just rolled your eyes at me or let out a sympathetic sigh, I know you have an opinion on the subject. I chose this topic not only because homeschooling is a big part of our lives here in the Clothesline household but also because some people think I'm weird and they don't know how to express it. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind being weird, people thinking I'm weird, or even being told that I'm weird. I'm used to not being like everyone else and I'm okay with that. It's when people don't say what they're thinking or don't ask questions so they can form a more well-rounded opinion that bothers me. A recent encounter at a fall festival is fresh in my mind so the pictures in this post are relevant. We did have a nice time together as a family and everyone that was dressed in period clothing was very kind and excited about what they were sharing with us.

As we made our way around the grounds enjoying special moments together learning about a way of life that is hard to even comprehend sometimes we gained a greater appreciation for the modern conveniences that we so often take for granted. Then we happened upon the much anticipated jumpy things. Of course we let the girls get in a jump off some energy. As Tim and i stood there watching them bounce around, a nice lady, a volunteer in the colonial children's games section, came over and began chatting with us. She commented on the girls lovely behavior and how much fun they were having. I looked from her to girls then back to her again as we chatted for a few minutes. She was very kind and talkative as we were the only ones over there at the time. Then came the first question..."What grades are your girls in?" My response...second grade and kindergarten. She said a few other things then asked the second question..."So where do your girls go to school?" My response...I homeschool them. I was looking up at the girls jumping around when I answered her and when there was no response I turned to look at her thinking she didn't hear me (I know, silly me) and she was gone! She had walked away without another word! Huh? Suddenly I was of no interest to her.

I get it if you don't like the idea of homeschooling, don't agree with homeschooling, or think I'm a kook for homeschooling but common courtesy would be nice. Wrap up a conversation instead of sneaking away while I look at my children. Make a comment or ask a question...something. But to walk away without another word? That was a first for me. A very disappointing, shocking first for me. I've had my share of unsupportive people make negative comments and I am as informative and excited about homeschooling as I can be so that they understand what I am doing and why. And you know what? I am tired of feeling like I have to defend myself as a mother, a wife, and a teacher. Tim and I made this decision together in the best interest of our children. We believe that this is what we are supposed to be doing. Now don't get me wrong, for every person that doesn't get it, there are probably 10 that do. I have an amazing group of friends that are supportive and encouraging and are a wealth of knowledge and know-how. Priceless, I tell you , priceless. So whether or not you agree with homeschooling or whether you think I'm weird or not just say so. Don't be afraid to disagree but ask questions and find out more so you at least know what you're disagreeing with.

To end on a more cheerful note, I must share another encounter that we had. A few minutes later, when the girls were done jumping, we made our way over to a beekeeper. We just finished up our studies on honeybees and all of the benefits of honey so we were pretty excited to see some things firsthand. As we looked at a live brood searching for the queen the beekeeper came over and started sharing information and asking questions. He was very impressed that my girls knew so much about bees and were excited to learn more. Miss O told him that we just finished studying bees. With a big smile he asked where they went to school. I told him that I homeschooled and he was so thrilled. That's great! he said. Then he looked at Tim and said "So you're a homeschool am I!" His genuine enthusiasm was very refreshing. No, I don't expect everyone to be enthusiastic about homeschooling, but common courtesy would be nice, no? So go ahead, leave a comment(good or bad), ask a question, tell me I'm weird if that's what you think. But please say something...don't just walk away.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

if you think i'm weird just say so::part one

the pictures are completely unrelated to the post but entirely too cute not to share

Part one...yes, I've got other weird things to share, but we'll start off with the topic of germs.
Okay, so I'm a little weird...but not as much as you think....I think. Since here in Virginia the virus that no one wants is spreading like crazy and the regular old flu season is upon us we here in the Clothesline household have a general "shoes off at the door" rule. It's not new here. Even before we had kids we adhered to the rule. It all started when we lived in Hawaii. Everyone took their shoes off before entering the house or at least left them in the pile by the front door. I suppose that was partly a Japanese tradition and one that never really crossed my mind. It was just the right thing to do. So after we moved back to the mainland the habit just remained.

Oh sure, it's a handy rule to have when it's rainy or muddy outside because it saves your floors and carpets from becoming filthy or wet. However, since having children and being more aware of then crawling and playing on the floor, the "shoes off at the door" rule makes even more sense to me. Just think about it for a minute. You've been out, let's say at a grocery store or your favorite shopping destination. What have you stepped in, stepped on, or walked through? Do you know? Did you go into the public restroom? Yeah, eeeww. Have you been at school or work all day? How about to the public library or even to the gym? Talk about the germs. Sure your shoes may look clean but really, not so much. Then you go home and walk around your house depositing who-knows-what on your floors and in your carpets. Okay, so having a husband who works in the mental health field and who is also surrounded and bombarded with numerous germs every day has made me more aware and quite frankly, weird about germs. I don't know about you, but I'd rather err on the side of weird...especially during flu season.
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So if I come to your house and take off my shoes, sure you may think I'm a little weird, but at least I left the germs and the dirt at the door. And just so you know, I am not alone. Regina wrote a little post about it here. Of course, she managed to make some cute slippers to wear around the house. I haven't done that yet...but they sure are cute. Maybe I should add those to my list.

So what do you think? If you think I'm weird, just say so. What's the shoe protocol in your home? Please feel free to share any helpful tips and suggestions. I'm just trying to do what I can to keep my family healthy and my home clean. Anything you have to add will certainly be appreciated. Happy Wednesday! xoANG

Friday, October 9, 2009

pomplamoose anyone?

I read about this group the other day while checking in on Alicia's blog, Mayfly. I really kinda like their sound and it's pretty impressive that it's just the two of them. They do a lot of covers that you can check out on youtube. However, once I saw that they did My Favorite Things I just had to share. I'll leave it up to you to listen to more of their tunes.
enjoy. xo ANG
By the way, how did another week go by so fast?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

win some, lose some

Well, today was an exciting day for me. I won a giveaway from Rebekah...of Sunnybrook Farm Designs. Oh, what did I win? you ask. Well, in honor of her new fall line of beautiful, handmade, little girls clothing called Caramel Apple she was hosting a giveaway of a delicious chocolate and caramel covered apple from nikid on etsy. Oh, I am excited! This baby is big enough for four people to I think I'll be sharing. Okay, I know I'll be sharing and not just because I'd have to run a marathon to burn the calories that it contains but because it'll be too yummy to keep to myself. Thanks Rebekah!

Now about the losing. Remember when I entered these aprons in the Tie One On mad about plaid contest?
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The winner was posted today and I didn't win. Bummer! I still had fun creating and sewing. It was a random drawing so my chances were slim. However, if you go to Amy Karol's mad about plaid apron gallery page to see all of the aprons that were entered you'll find my Key West Kilt Apron featured! Woot! Woot! So that's kinda like winning, right? While I'm on the topic of aprons...the new theme for Tie One On is peppermint candy. Yep, red and white just in time for the holidays. I've got my Christmas list...but maybe I can squeeze in some apron sewing time. Maybe.
Happy weekend. xo ANG

Thursday, October 1, 2009

in through the nose...out through the mouth

Is today really October 1st? Is tomorrow really Friday?


Where has the time gone. September where did you go? I wasn't ready to head into fall full blast. This morning the temperature was 39 degrees!!! Are you kidding me?! Well, I am sorry for the lack of posts here but I'm sure you understand, right? Last week we all had a cold. And although it was a relatively mild cold it sure did make me exhausted. Also, we have been staying on schedule with homeschooling which takes up more time this year than it did last year. Oh, I'm not complaining, in fact I am enjoying it more and so are the girls. It just takes more time. Also, when it is a little warm and sunny we are trying to take advantage of every single ray of sunshine that this season has to offer.

(picture has nothing to do with post...cute, no?)

On the crafty/sewing/crocheting front there hasn't been much activity. I've been formulating and tweaking and organizing my list for Christmas. Meanwhile, I've got Halloween costumes to create, a wedding anniversary to look forward to, a special November birthday to prepare for, and a January birthday that is the week after Christmas that needs some special pondering time of it's own. So although I have nothing tangible at the moment to share with you I do have a partial list that I'd like to share. I do, however, reserve the right to add or delete items from said list.

Things to sew:

lavender dryer sachet

tea wallets

owl softie ornament

an apron or two

holiday bunting (banner)

Things to crochet:



fingerless gloves

mittens/hat (for girls)

chapstick holder

vests (for girls)

When I have a little more time I'll link to some great free patterns and tutorials that I plan on using so you can make some fun things, too. Now that I see my list in the making I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. I just need to breathe deeply and get busy!

How's your list coming along? xo ANG