Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cookies For Santa

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is probably baking cookies. The whole house smells delicious for days and sharing the cookies is just an added bonus! Today, we have a sugar cookie recipe that was shared with us by one of our SHE Team members. I think you will enjoy it.


The Best Sugar Cookies Ever!

Yield 2 dozen

1 ½ c. powdered sugar
2 ½ c. flour
1 c. butter
1 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
1 tsp. cream of tarter
1 tsp. vanilla optional but hold dough
together better

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Cream powdered sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla.
3. Add flour, baking soda, and cream of tarter.
4. Roll dough out and cut with cookie cutters.
5. Bake 375 10-12 min or until done.

Lizzie says,
My son has sold 9 dozen of these for his Compassion water project:)! It's cookie central over here;)!

You can find this and other great family recipes in Lizzie's cookbook.

In addition to homeschooling, Lizzie also blogs at A Dusty Frame and sells her wonderful photography prints and vintage items on Etsy.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas In Red and White

At this fun and festive time of year there are many colors that make up our holiday decor.  Here are a couple commonly seen in these fun items from our Schooling at Home Etsian Team.  
Adorable Crocheted Baby Elf Hat by PuddinToes ($20.00)
Cheery Needle-felted Snowmen by Chimera ($9.50 ea)
Elegant Scarf by BaruchsLullaby ($70)
Useful Wool Dryer Balls by ShadySideFarm ($15)
Creative Christmas Sled by CardsnMoorebyTerri ($6.50)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chicken Tetrazzini

Today's recipe comes from Donna. Donna is a member of the Schooling at Home Etsians as well as the owner and creator of Naturally Comfy, homeschooling mother of 4 and blogger.

According to her blog, this recipe is a family favorite. We hope you enjoy it as well.

Chicken Tetrazzini

¼ C butter or margarine
¼ C flour
½ tsp salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 C chicken broth
1 C whipping cream (half-n-half also works well)
2 Tbs sherry ( I use water)
1 package (7 oz) spaghetti, cooked and drained)
2 C cubed cooked chicken or turkey
1 can (3 oz) sliced mushrooms, drained (I leave these out and it's fine)
½ C grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350*F. Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour and seasonings. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in broth and cream. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in wine, spaghetti, chicken and mushrooms. Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered 20 minutes or until bubbly.
6 servings

Monday, November 7, 2011

Interview With Kate of Wool Gatherings

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm Kate, I live in Washington State, and my husband Chris and I run a fiber business and Etsy shop called Woolgatherings. We have 2 kids, ages 8 & 11, who have always been homeschooled.

Marino Wool/ Bamboo / Silk Roving

2. How did you begin working in your craft and how did it develop into a business?

The fiber business was started over 25 years ago by my mother-in-law, and I took it over about 3 years ago, when she decided to retire and my kids were getting old enough to afford me a little free time. I have been working with fiber in various forms since I was a teenager, with her mentorship, so it was just a natural fit. At first it was just a hobby - I was primarily a SAHM just dyeing fiber occasionally for a couple of her long-time customers - but I started selling on Etsy in late '09 and since then, the business has really grown into a full-time job.

3. What is one of your favorite homeschool memories thus far?
My kids and I love to travel, so most of my favorite memories are of being with my kids out and about exploring the world. There is something so exciting about taking in a new environment, and being able to see it through the eyes of a child. It makes me feel like a child myself, in a way, because everything we are seeing is new to me too, and we are learning together.

One of the most amazing places we have ever visited was Kangaroo Island, off of the coast of South Australia - a fairly wild and unspoiled place with an abundance of wildlife and natural beauty. I will never forget driving way out in the bush and coming to a screeching halt to let a spiny echidna cross the road. My kids, especially my daughter, are huge animal lovers and they were *SO* excited to see this elusive nocturnal animal out in broad daylight, in its native environment. There was just something so magical about that moment, and that day, that always make me smile.

(This picture was taken a short while later that same day, at the "Remarkable Rocks" : www.flickr.com/photos/namztis/4908983140/in/set-72157624765598694 )

4. What advice would you give to other homeschool families who are also trying to run a home business?
It's a day to day challenge to make all of the pieces fit together, and some days work better than others. It helps to be organized – technology is your friend! Of course the kids come first, and for me, this means that fun comes first. No matter how busy I am, I have a little rule with myself that I don’t turn down an opportunity for fun if it presents itself to me.

Silver Alpaca/ Tussa Silk Top(Roving) - Undyed Fiber for Spinning

5. Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?
My work is all about color, and most of my inspiration comes from nature, art, and architecture. I am always looking around and watching how colors work together and play off of each other. I take tons of photographs, and again, I love to travel and immerse myself in new environments.

Blue Face Leicester Wool/ SeaCell Roving (combed top) - Hand Painted - 4 oz

6. Do you have specific goals for your business or for your homeschooling? Would you share some of those with us?

My goal for homeschooling is to really nurture my kids love of life and learning. We have always unschooled, though as they get older, their interests have led them to take a few more structured classes, and we are adapting to those changes as they come. For the future, I just hope that they can find what they are passionate about and are able to pursue it. For my business – I am happy with where it is right now, but someday I would love to have my husband come work with me full time.

Visit these web sites to learn more about her hand dyed fibers and homeschooling adventures.

Web: woolgatheringsfibers.com
Blog: freerangemama.typepad.com

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sugar Roasted Peanuts

This is one of our favorite fall snacks. My mom has made these for years and they are usually gobbled up before the evening meal is served.

If you have small children, they will enjoy watching the last few minutes of boiling as the sugar re-crystallizes onto the peanuts. So gather round the family kitchen and cook up a new family tradition!

2C Sugar
1C water
4C dry raw peanuts

In a large saucepan mix all ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir every 5-10 minutes. Continue boiling and stirring until the water is COMPLETELY dissolved and the sugar re-crystallizes onto the peanuts. (Around 30 minutes)

Immediately remove the peanuts from the stove and pour into well grease baking sheets or 9x13 casserole dishes. Bake at 300 for 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes.

Allow to cool, then enjoy!

This recipe was submitted by Sonja of VeryVerdant.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Interview With Karen of Sew Determined

Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm a Christian, homeschooling mom of four kids ages 17, 15, 13 and 11. This is my fourth year homeschooling, and it seems to get better and better! As with most things in my life, I seem to do things opposite of most everyone else! Seems many stop homeschooling for high school and that's when we started! It's been an eye opening and extremely rewarding experience for my children and me. I now only wished we had started from the beginning.

Before homeschooling, my children were disconnected. They loved each other, but didn't really ever play together. Separate lives so to speak. Once we started homeschooling, our whole family dynamics changed. We are now a very close knit family. I love knowing what's going on in their lives and sharing those experiences with them.

So who's the man behind the scenes? I am married to a wonderful husband who thankfully encourages me through all of my many whims and hobbies. In fact he's the one who got me started with sewing. Love him.

How did you begin working in your craft and how did it develop into a business?

I started creating and designing things as a child, but only started sewing when I was in my early 20's after my husband bought me a sewing machine. It was love at first stitch.
I have a close "relationship" with my seam ripper. One day after Christmas last year, I was using my friend the seam ripper and it gave me an idea to start a blog on sewing and crafting. I wanted it to be a "real" blog about my successes and failures of my sewing adventures. A blog to encourage others to not give up, but be determined to persevere, even if you sew the sleeve on backwards 3 times. While working on projects for my blog Sew Determined, my friends started asking me to make things for them. One thing led to another and that's how my Etsy shop "Call Me Cordelia" all started. It's still in in it's beginning stages and I'm slowly adding new things bit by bit. I enjoy sewing pretty, feminine things that I would love to have.

Ruffled Lemon Delight

What is one of your favorite homeschool memories thus far?

One of my favorite homeschool memories thus far has been our trip to Boston to walk the Freedom trail. We studied American History together as a family and it really brought all those biographies and stories to life. It was fantastic to hear the kids remembering all the things we had studied and to see them thoroughly engaged and interested.

What advice would you give to other homeschool families who are also trying to run a home business?

I am by no means a seasoned homeschooler or business woman, but my advice would be to put your family first and definitely keep a schedule for your business. That was my first mistake. Not keeping a schedule for my business. I tend to be a "free spirit" and that does not work for long. I've done a great deal of reading of others success stories and they all seem to have one thing in common. Order. Making a workable schedule and sticking to it.

My sewing studio

Our homeschool; the dining room table!

Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?

Red and Cream Toile Handbag

I am a huge fan of literature and I find my inspiration from the stories I read. For example, the name of my Etsy shop, Call Me Cordelia, is after Anne of Green Gables. If I'm feeling in a slump, I simply read one of my favorite classics and it always inspires me to make something I love. For example, I made this toile handbag after reading Sense and Sensibility.

Do you have specific goals for your business or for your homeschooling? Would you share some of those with us?

One of my goals is to have my business become more of a family affair. My youngest daughter loves to help me, but I would really enjoy having all of my children participate in the creative process one way or the other. Being an entrepreneur is a wonderful way to teach hands-on "school" to your children.

My other specific goals include, growing my blog, gaining FB and twitter exposure and really learning how to schedule my time to it's fullest.

Monday, September 19, 2011

True Ruby

Today's team member interview features Ruby, of TrueRuby.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm an introvert gladly surviving the chaos & noise of a houseful of children...a wife to the best man for the job...a daughter & sister & friend to a lovely bunch of people...a Christian trying to deepen my own faith & impart that to my family...a lover of creating, singing, music, & the written word...a woman trying to find the highly sought after balance of being all these things in one person. Many days it's an epic failure, sometimes I get it right...Most of the time I'm somewhere in between!

2. How did you begin working in your craft and how did it develop into a business?
My craft is really a mix of a few different crafts I love: painting & crochet. I've done both off & on in the past, often setting them aside for the next baby born or a particularly busy season of life. I really began toying with the thought of opening an Etsy shop when one of my friends opened hers & was having some success. It was easy & inexpensive to get one started, I had more than enough supplies to get going, & most of all I felt I would benefit from a more consistent creative outlet. As a single-income home educating family, any extra money would be appreciated & useful, too, of course! So I began to try to think of something unique that I could offer to the Etsy community. What came to mind is what ended up being the main focus of my shop, TrueRubyDesigns: Modern Crochet Wall Art.

Lime and Aqua Bird Crochet Wall Art

3. What is one of your favorite homeschool memories thus far?

My favorite moments are usually the times that my kids have had a real breakthrough in something they've struggled with. In particular, I have one child who really struggled to learn to read & spell due to various obstacles (vision problems & possible learning disabilities). When it became clear to me that the methods I'd used before weren't a good fit for him, I trusted my instincts & backed off of all formal instruction in those areas. I didn't want reading to become a hated chore! Instead of the usual route, all I required was that he read to me from any book he chose for 15 minutes daily. We kept at it in that fashion for nearly a year & a half! I distinctly remember the first time my son sat reading a book just for fun. Not just looking at the pictures, but actually reading a chapter book just because he wanted to! I even took a picture! That has to be my most fulfilling moment...at that moment I realized that I really did know what was best for my own children. I gained a lot of confidence in my homeschooling, enough that now I don't fear going "off book", so to speak. I am not chained to the instructor's guide or to any particular curriculum. I pick & choose what works best for each of my children, & I realize that that will be different for each one.

Custom Name Artwork

4. What advice would you give to other homeschool families who are also trying to run a home business?
My best advice would be to keep your priorities in order! I've had to pray for help in this area myself, as I tend to get wrapped up in a project & want to focus all my time & energy on that goal. I never want my children or my husband to feel that they play second fiddle to my shop! My ideal way of keeping my priorities in order is to set aside a specific time for creating & for working on the computer. I also try to snatch up any lulls in my day, but I have to be flexible, knowing that the kids needs could call me away. The majority of my work has been custom pieces, which require a lot of communication with the buyer & a lot of time to create unique designs. Before, I was working non-stop & shipping an order in a few days! I've just begun to tell buyers to allow a week for completion of a custom item, so that I can schedule time to create without it taking over my schedule completely.

Crochet Wall Art Rainbow Snail

5. Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?
Some of the items I've created have been inspired by the colors I love...as it says in my shop profile, I love using color to make ordinary things extraordinary! A lot of my ideas come to me as I'm falling asleep...I often make note of an idea by the light of my iPhone at night, so I don't forget it by the morning! As for my custom items, I ask the buyer for images of items they have or love & I use those as a springboard for a distinctive design. For example, several of my custom signs have been inspired by the children's bedding! I try to make an item feel like it belongs in a room while still making it one-of-a-kind & unique.

Turquoise Crocheted Handbag

6. Do you have specific goals for your business or for your homeschooling? Would you share some of those with us?
I'd love for TrueRuby to become a reliable source of income to our family...I feel blessed to be able to earn money doing something I love while still being able to be home & present with my children. My short-term goals for the business include getting some more items in my shop that are ready-to-ship, & also learning how to make the most of my time & effort in promoting my shop.

My homeschooling goals this year...I'd love to actually make it through the entire stack of books! I'm excited for this year's studies, even though I'll have more little ones than ever before. Our materials this year are more eclectic than ever, but I feel confident that we've got a great year ahead of us. My goal for myself as a teacher is to read aloud to my children every day. As for the kids...I've got a 7th grader who needs to step up to another level of study in preparation for high school & college level academics; a 5th grader who is also making a jump in his level of study & comprehension of more complex ideas; a beginning reader who I hope to help transition into a fluent reader; a 4 year old bundle of energy to guide & occupy; a 2 year old who will be learning how to quietly play during school; & a baby who will be on my lap as I do it all. I can hardly wait to begin! Just don't ask me to be as enthusiastic in February... :)

Ruby blogs about her business and some of her favorite Etsy finds on her blog called True Ruby Designs.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Nursery Chairs

One of the chairs is South America
One of the chairs is a ship at sea,
One is a cage for a great big lion,
And one is a chair for me.
~~A. A. Milne

Find these and other
Handmade Accessories at
Baruch's Lullaby

Monday, September 5, 2011

Team Member Interview - Kelly - The Handmaden

Today we get to meet an active member of our team. Kelly is active in our team forum. She often writes for the team blog and also stops by often to comment on various blog posts here. So today we will meet the woman behind The Handmaden.


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm a Catholic Australian homeschooling Mother to 4 children aged 11, 5, 4 and 2. I love and practice a wide variety of crafts including embroidery, sewing, dyeing, quilting, decoupage.. should I go on?!

How did you begin working in your craft and how did it develop into a business?
Many years ago my mother in law gave me an old biscuit tin full of embroidery threads and cloths that she never had time to complete. The tin sat around and followed me from place to place until finally, after the birth of my second child I decided to give it a try.
My etsy shop came about as an attempt to earn some pocket money to keep crafting!

Fabric Flower Barrette

What is one of your favorite homeschool memories thus far?
The magic of a child who discovers they can read is always a highlight for me.

What advise would you give to other homeschool families who are also trying to run a home business?

I may not be one to give advice as I certainly don't have the balance right yet, but I always make our faith and homeschooling the priority.

Toddler Size Mandala Skirt

Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?
Sometimes I think the world is too inspiring!! Inspiration is absolutely everywhere but I do have a great love of books and nature.

Tell us a little about yourself.
Lil' Mim and Tiny Mim

Do you have specific goals for your business or for your homeschooling? Would you share some of those with us?

One of my business goals is to somehow, one day be able to make a living from what I do and to be self supporting. My specific homeschooling goal is to have happy, holy and healthy children.

Thank you for reading about me and my family!

You can find Kelly on line at
~ The Handmaden on Etsy
~ The Handmaden on Facebook

~All photos and information in this post are used by permission.
Thanks, VeryVerdant

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fall Contemplation

Here is a little fall goodness from our fellow team members. All of these items can be found on Etsy right now. I for one am looking forward to the changing season.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sheteam Gets Organized

Here is a cute little ditty dedicated to keeping it real, keeping it fun, keeping it together and keeping it at home.

A place for our pencils
A journal for Mommy's thoughts
A chart for kiddos's chores
Now that's an aweful lot

A shelf for every book
A smart baby holder too
A snack to keep us going
School at home is what we do

Vintage Pencil Holder - Gremlina

Handmade Journal - Whimsie's Cottage

Chore Chart Kit - January's June

Distressed Turquoise Book Case - USA Creations

Baby Pouch Sling - Earth Slings

Go Green Produce Bag - Handsfull Creations

Posted by VeryVerdant

Monday, August 22, 2011

Team Member Interview - Heidi of The Blissful Stitcher

Today I would like to introduce you to Heidi of The Blissful Stitcher.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I homeschool a 13-year-old, an 11-year-old and a five-year-old. They are both the biggest frustration and the greatest joy in my life.

I'm married to the man who was the high school boy I had a crush on in jr. high. We celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary this year.

I am an RN. Until spring of this year, I worked as an IV Therapist at a hospital near my home. I have worked as a nurse in IV therapy, medical-surgical and medical-telemetry units for nearly 10 years. In nursing school, I told anyone who would listen that I would not be working in a hospital. My life is full of such irony.

I have used various art mediums. My favorites are watercolor, pen and ink, charcoal, beads, photography and embroidery. I hope to revisit watercolor in the next few months.

Custom Toddler Hoodie

How did you begin working in your craft and how did it develop into a business?

I started out making gifts. I suppose they were gifts I would like to receive. When customers began to order variations of these gifts, I was thrilled.

What is one of your favorite homeschool memories thus far?

I find it interesting that my favorite homeschool moment is tied to my least favorite. I took a few years to find the right math curriculum for my daughter. She struggled mightily with programs that had a spiral learning path. The first three programs we tried left us both hating math. Every time multiplication showed up on a lesson, she flailed, floundered, and fought against it. Since multiplication is such a foundational skill for all math, I finally found a curriculum that focused on teaching the why and how of multiplication before moving to more complex problems.

Half-way through the year, she came running to me with her math book. I was sure her news had nothing to do with the math because her face was shining. Before I could ask her why she was so happy, she burst out, "This REALLY WORKS! I can multiply sixes, and I know WHY!"

Custom Crafty Labels With Your Name

What advice would you give to other homeschool families who are also trying to run a home business?

Set a specific time for marketing and crafting. I talked over my schedule with my husband. He had excellent insight. We decided I would "go to work" during specified hours. This reduced a number of problems we were having with household duty responsibilities and reduced the number of interruptions from bored children.

Marketing is a great big mystery to me. I am soaking up information from the etsy blog and from the examples of etsians I admire. I plan to have a discussion with my husband about my marketing plan. He is a great sounding board.

Crochet Hiptser

Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?

Ideas live in my head long before they become pieces. I'll tuck something into the back of my mind and save it for a while. I have a vast collection of embroidery designs of all kinds. I keep these designs in mind while going about my day. Add to this the rush I get from figuring out the solution to a design problem. The challenge may be maddening, but when the product comes to fruition, that high can carry me for a few weeks of crafter's block.

For my business, I want to use up and sell my current stock before I purchase more.
For our school, I would like to finish up a few subjects from last year before I purchase more.

Places to find Heidi
~ Facebook

~ The Blissful Stitcher Blog

~The Blissful Stitcher Etsy Shop

~ Company Casuals

~All Photos and information in the post are used by permission.
Thanks, VeryVerdant

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Broadening Horizons

"It is enjoying other peoples' ideas and thoughts and jokes...noticing beauty in music and pictures...enjoying country sights and sounds, birds and flowers. Children's horizons of thought need to be wider than their workbooks."
~Charlotte Mason Companion
~ Written by Karen Andreola

~ Burlap Gathering Bags from Harriet's Haven ~