Monday, March 26, 2012

Interview With Kellie of Red Dirt Kids

My name is Kellie, I am a Christian, home-school loving, stay at home mom to 9 of the best kids in the world!. Our children range from 28 years old down to 3. We have 3 sons that are married and they have blessed us with soon to be 9 grandchildren (we have some twins on the way!) My husband, Steve, is retired Air Force and we have homeschooled for about 18 years. Our oldest 2 sons went to public school for 2 years here in the states then the oldest 3 went to the school on base while we lived in England for a couple of years. We are now settled down in the great state of Oklahoma. We are blessed to have my mom and sister living nearby, as well as 2 of our married children. We have 2 sons in the Army, our oldest daughter lives here at home and is a LPN, we have one daughter that is a senior, a son in 6th grade, and one in 3rd grade then a lively 3 year old daughter! I can think of nothing better than living a life serving the Lord and being with my family! It is an amazing blessing seeing my 28 year old or 26 year old son with their 3 year old sister. Life is very busy with lots going on but I would have it no other way.

Tell us a little about yourself.

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

I grew up with a very creative mom. But it was not till I had my 4th child that I asked her to teach me to sew. She thought I was crazy trying to learn to sew, homeschool and have 4 children. But I loved it! I was hooked from then on…
My husband likes to tease me that I have more fabric than the local fabric store. I enjoy making things for the people I know and love. Crafting is sort of an outlet for me. I enjoy not only making the items but giving them away or selling them through ETSY or at local craft fairs. When I started making more than I could give to family and friends I thought “why not offer them to other people through ETSY or locally”.

Sack Of Potatoes Felt Food

What is one of your favorite home school memories thus far?

I am not sure if I have one specific memory, but I have a lot of things I love about homeschooling. One thing I love is when the kids are so excited about what they are learning that they tell everyone that will listen, or when we walk in the mornings and work on math or spelling flash cards and the kids say “Time to stop already”. I just love seeing the progress each one makes and seeing the bond that homeschooling has brought to our family.

Felt Food Carrots

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

Well, I am not sure I would have good advice since my business is not booming right now. But I would say to keep your priorities right. School the kids first then have time set aside that you can work on your craft. It is hard at times, I have little ones so sometimes it is hard to fit the “work time” in. I never want to make my kids stay away from mommy, but if you can enlist the help of older siblings or a friend I think that helps. I also prefer to list items that I have made already and not so much items to be made.

Crayon and Color Pencil Rolls

Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?
Mostly I get inspired by watching my children or grandchildren play.

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

So far I have had 5 children graduate from our homeschool with one more graduating this year. I hope to continue teaching our younger children, and encourage other moms to also homeschool. As for goals for my business, I hope to keep plugging at it till I get consistent orders. I am hoping as I have more and more children flying the coop that my crafts will help fill the empty nest syndrome that I sometimes hear other moms talk about.

Baby Girl Gift Set

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Strawberry Cheesecake

It's Autumn in my part of the world but I know for a lot of our readers Summer is not too far away, so I thought it a perfect time to share the Summer Strawberry Cheesecake recipe I concocted last summer.

1 packet Marie biscuits (or sweet biscuit), crumbed
100g melted butter

Mix the crushed biscuits and melted butter together thoroughly and press into the base of a greased cheesecake tin. Refrigerate.

1 cup strawberry puree (see instructions below)
1 tablespoon powdered gelatine (or substitute *)
375 grams cream cheese (bring to room temp.)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 and 1/4 cup cream, whipped

For puree - Hull and wash 2 punnets of strawberries, if large cut in half. Using a food processor or suitable replacement, puree the strawberries with 1 tablespoon of sugar and a squeeze of lemon. Leftover puree is wonderful on yoghurt, icecream, even cereal.

Place 1 cup of puree into a small saucepan with the gelatine, caster sugar and lemon juice and stir with a fork over a low heat. You want to heat the ingredients, not cook them. Leave to cool while you:

Beat the cream cheese until creamy. Beat in the cooled strawberry mixture until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream lightly. Pour onto the base and refrigerate until set.

3/4 cup strawberry puree
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons arrowroot

Warm ingredients together in a small saucepan (once again - just warming, not cooking). Pour on top of set cheesecake and refrigerate until set.

Serve with additional whipped cream if desired.

*For those who wish to not use gelatine there are some alternatives here.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, maybe you are lucky enough to have strawberries in your garden!

Posted by Kelly

Monday, March 12, 2012

Interview With Lona of Shady Side Farm

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a married mom of four children--three girls and a boy. The oldest has graduated from college and working full-time, the next two are in college, and we have one left studying high school at home. We live on a small working farm, which my husband runs, and I have a part-time, off-farm job.

Dishcloth Set of Three

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

I started weaving rugs when the children were small as something to do for myself. Little ones can consume you, and I was eager to escape to the basement after their bedtime to work on my projects. Several years ago, we added sheep to the farm, which opened up amazing opportunities to us to use and market the wool. My husband took an interest in making socks from the yarn we had made from the wool. I heard about etsy in 2007, and thought I'd give it a try.

What is one of your favorite homeschool memories thus far?

We have been able to take a couple of trips in the early fall that would not have been possible if the children had been in school--one to eastern Canada, and one to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. These are some of our family's most cherished memories. But I also have a huge bank of memories of us working together on the farm that I would not trade for anything.

Handwoven Rag Rug Corduroy

What advice would you give to other homeschool families who are also trying to run a home business?
Check your sanity at the door. =)

Actually, I suggest you savor the moments. Business can be consuming, and relationships are very, very important. Don't forget to laugh and goof off so that those relationships are preserved.

Handmade Wool Socks - Double Hem Tops

Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?

The form of our "art" remains pretty constant--a rug is a rug and a pair of socks is a pair of socks. Not much variation there. The fun for us comes in the colors that we put together when we're dyeing yarn or using fabric to make a rug. I think we approach our art with a sense of adventure--"I wonder what will happen if I do this..." So maybe we aren't copying something from nature or the world around us as much as we are experimenting with color.

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

My goals for homeschooling have always included teaching the kids HOW to learn, while not extinguishing their natural interest in the world around them. Since I can't teach them everything, I want to give them the skills needed so that they can learn things on their own later.

And quite honestly, some days my only goal is to survive the day. I want homeschooling families to hear that some days are HARD. We don't need to pretend otherwise.

Our goal on the farm is to be good stewards of the land while we earn a living raising food and fiber products. Early in our marriage I stumbled across the verse in
I Thessalonians 4:11, which says "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. " This is something we've always tried to keep in mind as we work.

Thank you, Lona, for sharing a glimpse into your life.

Here are a few places you can visit Lona on line.
Her Etsy shop - Shady Side Farm
Her Farming Blog - Farming In The Shade
Her Facebook Page - Shady Side Farm on Facebook

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Homeschooling - how do I begin?

A source of anxiety for new homeschooling parents is just how to go about teaching their children and what exactly they are going to teach. What curriculum to order? Whether to use a curriculum at all? What room to use? Do we need uniforms? How will my children respond? How can I teach without qualifications? One most commonly asked question is: "how do I begin?"

The answer is so very simple.

You already have.

How many books have you read to your child? How many times have you helped him/ her to dress and groom? How many little discussions have you had? How much time have you spent together in your home just doing day to day things? Can you even begin to imagine how many words you have spoken to your child, how many emotions you have conveyed or how many times you have just looked with love into those precious young eyes?

The truth is that you were your child's primary teacher from day 1. That is why it is so natural and normal for you to remain the primary educator and why you can do the best for your child.
Learning is a progression - as the child learns, so you too will learn what works for your family and what doesn't. You won't know everything you need to know right away but the journey will teach you.

Homeschooling is a great challenge but also a great adventure,  and one that I believe is well worth our undertaking!

Angela of Little Monkey Pouches and Barn Kitchen (boy, is she a busy Mum!) says:

"We homeschool because we feel that we didn't have children for others to raise. If we sent them to school, another adult would essentially be raising our children for 8 hrs a day, and we would get the few waking hours left to instill our values in them - and undo what what instilled in them during those 8 school hours."

Carmen of  Natural Linens shares with us a bible reflection that inspires her in her homeschooling journey:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Deut 6: 4-7 

Posted by Kelly