Friday, August 29, 2014

Homeschooling Adventures and a GIVEAWAY!!!!!

Did you see that? That title? I'm doing a GIVEAWAY! My first. But, just to build the anticipation...... a post on homeschooling adventures.

There is so much to love about schooling your children at home, but this is my absolute favorite. Once regular school has begun and all the kiddos are back in school, a great h-u-s-h envelops the land! Everywhere becomes so quiet and uninhabited. Parks and playgrounds-empty, hiking trails-empty, beaches-empty, you get the point here, right? This is when we begin our ADVENTURES! For this adventure, we headed into the woods to Hemlock Falls. Sounds kind of like the location of a horror movie set, doesn't it? I promise it's not creepy at all. What it is, is pure natural bliss. Little narrow, stream-lined trails, waterfalls galore and some of the very best God has to offer. Here's how our adventures unfolded.......






Just us and nature. Wonderful. Peaceful. Rejuvenating. I'm so grateful that we school our children at home. I wouldn't want to miss all these moments for anything.

And now.... drum-roll please.... THE GIVEAWAY! I have partnered with Carol, owner of Seven Willows: Soaps, Soys And Stationaries, to put together this collection of goodies. Together, we are offering a bounty of the BEST smelling, all natural soaps and products that you have ever laid eyes upon {or noses as this case may be}! I would just give anything if this computer had a scratch-and-sniff feature! Lordy mercy y'all! Her stuff is flat out AMAZING! If you follow that link up there right to her website, Carol has given The Little Farm Diary's readers a coupon code: just enter TLFD at checkout for 15% off!!!! So, here's what you'll get if you win: 


  1. Full Size Bar Of "When Honeysuckle Blooms" Artisan Soap
  2. Full Size Bar Of "First Date" Artisan Soap
  3. Full Size Bar Of "Peppermint And Lavender" Coconut Milk Soap
  4. Full Size Bar Of "Bee My Honey" Artisan Soap
  5. Four Sample Size Bars Of Carol's New Soap Scents
  6. Lavender "Washing Powders" Soap For Clothes
  7. "Red Currant" Natural Soy Candle
  8. "Morning Glory" Shea Butter And Aloe Lotion
  9. AND, A "Little Farm Diary" Tote

Can you say "wowza"! Yep, all for one lucky winner! PLEASE, I'm begging y'all to share, share, share to ALL your social media sites. The more the merrier and the more also means more giveaways in the future! This giveaway will run from 8:30 a.m. EST 8-29-14 {that's TODAY} until Monday 9-8-14 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter  and announced on Tuesday 9-9-14 right here on the blog. Entry is here at the bottom of this post. I like to keep it SIMPLE, so just click on the Rafflecopter entry box AND don't forget that you have to leave a comment on this post to be eligible. Good luck y'all, and remember, share, share, share! 






a Rafflecopter giveaway ******All The Legal Stuff******




“Giveaway ends September 8 at 11:59 PM EST. Open to Legal Residents (18 years of age or older) of the US only. Prizes cannot be shipped to PO Boxes. Winner will be selected by Rafflecopter and be notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. The product  for the giveaway was provided by "The Little Farm Diary" and "Seven Willows". The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and me alone. I do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.”


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DIY: Custom Image Pinterest Hover Button Tutorial



Hey y'all! This post today is for any bloggers or aspiring bloggers that would like to know how to make a custom image Pinterest hover button for your blog images. Before I start, there are two pre-requisites: 1. You must be signed up to use the site Picmonkey 2. You need a Photobucket account. My directions are for Blogger blogs because that's what I happen to be using. This post also comes with a WARNING; making these can will become addictive. Seriously, I made like twenty over the weekend and just couldn't decide which one I wanted on the blog, so I had to try EACH of them out. If you happened to have visited the blog during this switch-a-roo fest, God bless you. And without further ado..........


{just a FEW of the images I made in Picmonkey}

  • Go ahead and open this page in your browser http://www.bloggersentral.com/2012/11/pinterest-pin-it-button-on-image-hover.html
  • Also open your blogger page
  • Now head on over to Picmonkey.com and get crazy creative. Really play around a little with the images; the possibilities are endless! And because I'm a visual learner, I've made this neat little video to get you through the Picmonkey process {also on YouTube if you want to view a larger screen image just follow this link}

video


  • Now head over to Photobucket. Upload the image you saved on your computer from Picmonkey and once it's there click on your image. A few "links to share your photo" will show up to the right of your image: click on the one that says 'Direct'. This will copy that link for you.
  • Once you have your link copied, head on over to your bloggersentral.com tab that you've already opened in your browser.
  • Copy and paste the code from bloggersentral somewhere safe. I like to start a new post in Blogger and just save it there for future reference~ just don't ever accidentally click 'publish'! Bloggersentral has very clear instructions on how to change their code if you'd like to insert your own image. And that's just what we want to do!
  • In other words, everything inside the quotation marks {be sure to leave the quotation marks; you are going to insert between them} in line 3, will be erased and replaced with your new image link from Photobucket. Just right click between the quotes {after you delete their jpg image text} and 'paste' in your photobucket link.
  • This new code is your future custom Pinterest hover button. Woot woot!! Highlight and copy ALL of the new code.
  • Now the really easy part; head back over to Blogger and click 'Layout'. 
  • In 'Layout" click 'add a gadget'
  • Scroll down to the add 'HTML/Javascript' and click
  • In the entry box, right click and paste your code
  • Hit 'save' and then 'save arrangement'
  • Are you ready? Hit the view blog button, scroll over an image and marvel at your custom creation! 





{Here's a clip of what my current "pin it" hover button looks like live on my blog. Cool huh?}



Now the really hard part begins..... try not to go crazy and make 20 30 of them which I may or may not have done. Oh boy.....
I hope that this helped y'all out and I'd love to hear from you, so come back and share in the comments what amazing images you created.


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Monday, August 25, 2014

Unschooling 101

Recently, I posted on unschooling and why we've landed upon this style of learning for our children. I promised to delve much more deeply into the topic, because I just really feel that it's a very misunderstood form of schooling at home. In this post, I'm going to talk about how unschooling looks in our family.



We began homeschooling some sixteen+ years back and we did begin the journey by choosing a curriculum. I knew NOTHING about homeschooling when we started and I just assumed that schooling at home meant just that~ SCHOOL-AT-HOME. So, school was delivered to our front door in a convenient little box and schooling commenced. Over all these years, through MUCH reading and research, We've discovered a better way~ unschooling.


Through the years, I've watched plenty of families invest ALL their time and resources into filling their children with every curricula available so that they can compete with the average brick and mortar schooled child their age. Sometimes I've wondered if they are neglecting the most precious aspect of schooling at home. We have endless hours with our children, but yet so many do not look at the child as a whole. Are your children being fed morally, can they cook, clean and care for their home? Can they compassionately care for their younger siblings? Have they been taught to respect and enjoy nature? Are they gardeners, learning homesteading, and composting? Have they been given the time and space to explore their God given gifts and passions OR could they go head to head academically with a brick and mortar schooled child their same age?


Unschooling is a lifestyle where we as parents must trust that God has put all that's needed inside our child and it's our responsibility to help foster those talents and gifts. Not just whenever the time allows, but ALL day, EVERY day. Unschooling takes lots of faith! 



So, if your saying to yourself, this woman's nuts and her kids are never going to be able to get into college if they so desire because she's not making them stay on track with their reading, writing and arithmetic, hold up for just a minute. Besides the fact that we have graduated one child already, and yes, he did get into college, research has shown that once a child WANTS to learn a certain task whether it be geometry or photography or ANYTHING in between, they will devote themselves to the task and tackle it head on until they have it mastered enough to accomplish their goal. We do this as adults ALL the time. Take me for example: when I discovered the blogging world a few short years back, I saw that lots of women had a talent of taking an old, junky piece of furniture and re-purposing it into something beautiful and useful with paint. I found this frugal thought very enticing. So what did I do? I began voraciously combing the web for tutorials on refinishing and repainting furniture. Now, our house is filled with pieces that I've re-purposed. And when I had mastered that, I noticed that there were lots of women out there sewing slipcovers for their tired, old furniture and sewing pillows and linens to decorate their homes. So then, I blew the dust off my sewing machine, and began combing the web again for sewing how-to's, and ta-da, I mastered that too! Why do we not have the faith that our children won't do the very same thing??? Mine do it each and every day because we have given them the time to let their minds wander in search of their talents. 



Unschooling isn't just about a no-hands-on-style of parenting though. My next post will explain what you should do as a parent every day to be sure that your children's environment is conducive to learning. I hope that this has answered some unschooling questions you may have been wondering about. Feel free as always to share your thoughts in the comments and share this page through your social media if you know of a homeschooling family that may be interested in unschooling too!  Thanks for joining me and come back soon for more information on unschooling!


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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Carissa's Creamy Spaghetti Recipe


Today y'all, I've got a special treat! Visiting today is Carissa over from her blog All In All, and she's sharing this easy and delicious meal to add to your meal planners for the month. Not only is it easy but it's kid-tested and approved! Score! This is also a great pack-able meal, perfect for sharing with a friend in need or taking to a pot-luck dinner.  ENJOY!


Creamy-Spaghetti

I love to cook! It's really a passion of mine. I create recipes, I look forward to the huge holiday meals that I plan for weeks, and I get super excited about cooking something awesome for a potluck... but I still don't want to cook dinner some nights! It's like 6PM hits, I haven't thawed any meat, I'm hungry and  totally exhausted. You probably know the feeling well.

My answer to the I-don't-want-to-cook evenings is Creamy Spaghetti! I've been making this for years and it is my husbands favorite pasta dish. Now with a picky little one in the family I'm so happy to have ONE meal we all love!

I actually use angel hair pasta instead of spaghetti. No specific reason other than that we prefer the thin pasta. You can use whatever you like best. For the pasta sauce I like to use the Aldi brand basic sauce or Prego traditional. Again, use what you like the best.

One of the best things about this meal is that it takes 20 minutes to prepare from start to finish!
Ingredients:
1 pound of angel hair pasta
2 jars of pasta sauce
8 oz block of cream cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (from the can, not fresh)

Directions:
Cook the pasta in boiling water just until al dente. Drain in a colander and set aside. In the same pot that you cooked the pasta in, melt the cream cheese into the pasta sauce. This takes a few minutes and a lot of stirring. Once the cream cheese begins to break down, use a whisk to stir the cream cheese in very well. Stir in the grated parmesan cheese. Pour the pasta into the pot and coat well in the sauce.
Serves 6 (but it is really yummy, so maybe more like 4!)

I serve our creamy spaghetti with green beans and garlic toast. Yum!

Creamy-Spaghetti

Creamy-Spaghetti 


Enjoy!


Thank you Carissa and y'all be sure to stop by her blog for MANY more yummy inspirations! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Day I Added More RED

Yep, I'm cruising into fall. I'm whistling all the way. This should aptly distract me from the fact that winter is hard for me. I've been fluffing, primping and painting, little by little, all in preparation for the arrival of autumn. This season, I'm adding more red and I'm lovin' it so much. It is a rich color but still has that hint of 'I'm a little bold and sassy'. I've changed up the dining area and the entry just by adding a little red. In the dining area, I repainted the mirror and changed things around a little, and see what I mean, it's just a little sassier over there now. LOVE. 





Next, over at the entry, I changed out my spring/summer wreath with this one I made last year. The woolly textured yarn just says cooler temps are on the way! Yeah baby! I wanted a little more fun in this area, so I added a little red ric-rac onto the plain white lamp shade, and ta-da, free freshening up with just the right amount of persnickety. That is a word isn't it?? Oh well, it is now~ ha! 





So what decor changes do you have in the works right now at your house? Shop around your house and relocate some pieces from other rooms. Decorating doesn't have to be expensive. Change out some colors and don't be afraid to change some pieces with paint. If you don't like it when you're finished, you can always paint it right back. So today's motto~ CHANGE IT UP!


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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Love Of Succulents



I've been doing a little freshening up around here this week, part of my tiptoeing into fall plan. I've planned to stay away from the more traditional fall colors that I mentioned in my last post. I decided to warm things up over here by adding some more red, which I adore. More on that later, but for now, I've really been wanting to play around more with succulents. 



This summer I added a few in outdoor planters and I love them. They have performed really well. I also added a couple to our girls' room that you can check out here. With fall and winter on the horizon, I really wanted to bring some life into the house with the addition of some plants. I just love these little guys because you can plant them in the cutest containers. I've collected some milk glass over the years, and these succulents just look great planted in them. Have fun with your containers~ I've even seen these planted in old colanders and they are just cute as pie. 


My FAVORITE part about succulents you ask? Low Maintenance! Life's busy enough without babysitting plants! Am I right?  They do need a good source of light making them a perfect windowsill plant. Also be sure you plant them in a soil that drains readily and don't over water, other than that, easy peasy. I love how the house looks with these scattered about. 


Plants just bring such a breath of freshness to a room. How about you? What changes are you making around the house to usher in the upcoming change of seasons? I'd love to hear from you!


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Monday, August 18, 2014

It's Coming - FALL

Well..... it's coming...... FALL. Whether I'm happy about it's impending arrival or not~ it's coming. If you're thinking to yourself that I must be completely c-r-a-z-y......... how could I not like the crisp air and the colorful leaves that blanket the landscape- it's not those that make me shudder. I actually adore those changes. Fall means that the cold, dreary winter is inevitable and with that comes great depths of depression for me {I posted on that here}. I really do love fall, but this year I've got to ease into it gently, you know, sort of tip toe into it's presence. Instead of fall's usual dark, heavy color combinations that are traditionally used to usher in the season, I've been researching many lighter, brighter options. Here's what's tickling my fancy so far.......












Whoa! So I don't have to go all dark and heavy! I feel better all ready with these lighter options. What do y'all think? Looking forward to fall or not? 

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