Friday, February 22, 2013

The Woodsman's carvings

I've written a few posts about my talented hubby, but they've mostly been about the carving process. With this post I want to just showcase some of his amazing finished products. He just so stinkin' talented! These items were from a special order and the customer was beyond happy with them. So happy he's already placed another order and I can't wait to show you how those turned out!




Homecoming 2012

Being a SAHM this year has been awesome! I get to do all those things I've seen other moms do and quite honestly been jealous of! One of those awesome things this year was getting to take the girls to the Homecoming parade. They've always been able to go with grandparents or baby-sitters, but this year mom got to tag along.
Since school dismissed a couple of hours before the parade started, the girls and I made a day of it. We enjoyed a pizza at Main Street Bistro, walked through downtown and met up with some friends to finally watch the parade with.
My two beautiful girls and their curly hair!
Little Bit and her buddy AJ.

Alyssa, Caroline, Miss Priss and Little Bit
The fab four (Miss Priss and her great group of girl friends)
Alyssa, Caroline, Miss Priss and BethAnn

Little Bit and her buddy Caroline
This year's Homecoming was extra special because it is Uncle Jay's senior year. The girls love getting to see him march.

Mighty band from tiger land!

Uncle Jay playing the lead trumpet!

We hope to get to see him next year march with the JSU gamecocks!

MIss Priss's 4th grade program

Every year Mrs. Henderson works so hard with all the children to put on a fabulous show. This year the 4th graders sang about respect, for yourself as well as others.
Wow that's a lot of 4th graders. And that's not even all of them (graduation is gonna take a long time!)

So proud of Miss Priss volunteering for a speaking part again this year. She always does a wonderful job!

They all did a wonderful job. Miss Priss is right smack in the center (in the pink). Its like a Where's Waldo puzzle!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Shelby with bubbles

Shelby may be getting a little up there in doggie years, but that won't stop her from her FAVORITE past time......chasing bubbles! This dog goes nuts for bubles! It's hilarious. Most of the time you can find Shelby relaxing in the sun, curled up in a blanket or laying on the porch watching cars go by, but you get the bubbles out and she's back to being a puppy again!

The girls get quite a kick out of it too! This is how the girls wanted to help celebrate Shelby's birthday this year. Happy 10th birthday Shelby Ann. Here's to many more bubble days!

First day of school 2012 - 1st and 4th

I know I say it every year, but dang I can't believe I have a 1st and 4th grader! Its just not right. If I could freeze them at any age, this would be it. Just look at those beautiful (non-teenager) faces. Please tell me they will stay this sweet!
Little Bit - 1st day of 1st grade
Miss Priss - 1st day of 4th grade

9 and 1/2 years old
6 years old

Showing off her new backpack.

This year Miss Priss changes classes, so she had a have binder to carry from class to class.

Sweet sisters.
Now for the glamour shots. Forget the backpacks, binders and lunch boxes! We want to make sure our new outfits take center stage!!
They are growing up WAY to fast and it seems like I just can't do anything about it! Sigh!

Muscadine wine

One of my favorite projects this summer was making my very first batch of Muscadine Wine. It was quite the laborious project, but let me tell was well worth it!
Step 1 pick all the beautiful grapes. We have a small vineyard here at our house, but thankfully the grandparent-in-laws have a more mature vineyard that needed to be picked! (You might not have this at your fingertips, so venture down to your local farmers market for the best produce.)
Step 2 wash. Even though our muscadines are organic, I like to at least rinse the dirt off before I begin the process.
Step 3 place about a quart of grapes in a gallon size ziploc bag. (the measuring here will help later on)
Step 4 smash! The goal is to have all the muscadines opened up and juices all mixed together. I did several bags like this with a quart of fruit in each one. I found that smashing them in a bag helps to keep down on the mess.
Step 5 pour smashed fruit into a large container. Add 3 quarts of water for each quart of fruit. (This is a 5 gallon container that I poured 4 quarts of fruit and 12 quarts of water into. It is perfectly okay to mix the bags of fruit together. I keep them separate so I know how much I've got. It just makes it easier for me that way.)
Step 6 add 6 cups of sugar per 1 quart of fruit to the container and sitr til the sugar is dissolved. (I added 24 cups here since I had 4 quarts of fruit.) You can heat it slightly to help the sugar dissolve quicker (before adding the fruit), but I didn't.
Step 7 sprinkle yeast on top of muscadine, sugar, water mix. I used one package of yeast per container. (My containers were all different sizes ranging from 2 to 4 gallons. It will all be mixed together at the end so it really doesn't matter that one had more yeast than another.)
Step 8 cover with cheese cloth and let the mixture sit undisturbed for the first 24 hours. After the first 24 hours stir the yeast into the muscadines twice a day for a week. (This allows the gases created by the yeast eating the sugar to escape. I thought this was a cool part of the process.) Make sure to cover again with the cheese cloth (you may even have to replace the cheese cloth a couple of times during the week. This helps to keep gnats out of your wine.)
Step 9 straining the berries. Now that the yeast has started working its magic, we need to get down to just the juices. This can be a messy part, but again I think you will find it worth the hassle when all is said and done. I used all my boilers and a strainer to make this as painless as possible.
Step 10 take a minute to just admire the beautiful juice. Ah, to think in just 6 weeks this will be in my wine glass ready to drink!
Step 11 pour all your juice and yeast that made it through the straining into a large (preferably glass...I am one of those "don't drink out of plastic" nuts) jar. This was my ABSOLUTE favorite flea market find this year. It is a 5 gallon Pyrex glass jar! I only paid $30 for it!
Step 12 make your container air tight, but able to release the gases created by the yeast. Wine stores will have a fancy contraption for this, but I am lucky to have a crafty husband that fashioned this nifty stopper for me. It consists of a tapered, rubber stopper with a whole through the center and clear, fish tank cleaning tube.

Step 13 place your air tight jar in a kitchen chair and run the clear tube into another jar filled with water sitting on the ground. The gases from the wine being created have to go somewhere. You want the gases to be able to get out without anything else getting in. This is the perfect way to do just that in a cheap manner using gravity.
Step 14 let sit for 6 to 8 weeks. I let mine sit for 6 weeks simply because I couldn't wait another 2 weeks! It will really be up to your bubbles to tell you when the wine is ready. When you no longer see the bubbles coming through the tube into the jar of water on the ground, you know the yeast has finished its work.

 Step 15 strain the wine through a coffee filter. This was another time consuming and potentially messy step. I clamped a coffee filter onto one of my canning funnels and poured the wine very slowing into half gallon jars. I used LOTS of coffee filters! And I'm talking LOTS! This will get as much yeast out as possible though.
Step 16 pour wine into final containers. Use a funnel to keep from spilling.
Step 17 put a cork in it. Save all your old wine bottles and corks.
Step 18 pour yourself a glass!!!!
After going through the steps and making my own wine, I won't be buying anymore! The process is time consuming, but fun and well worth the effort. I will probably change a few steps and try to improve on them, but overall its a pretty good process. Next year I plan to venture out and try blueberries, apples, pears and whatever else I can get my hands on!
Just beautiful if I do say so myself!!!