Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I've never seen this before-- antlers for your car. I wasn't too impressed, and as a matter of fact, the first thought that popped into my head was: oh, more crap for people to buy.

Then Youngest spotted it and said: "Look! A deer-car!!!"

Which then prompted a whole conversation with Daddy about who was driving the car (an old man and an old lady as a passenger), where they were going, why they had a deer-car and so on.

So now I think it's cute.


A deer-car. :o)

Monday, December 28, 2009

The End Is Near!!

I hope everyone had a nice holiday. We had a lovely time. We got icy rain on top of our 21 inches of snow on Christmas day, so my husband's parents and my aunt and uncle did not come that day. I expected the kids to wake me up early on Christmas morning, since the night before, I spent most of the evening, after they went to bed, wrapping presents and putting them under the tree.

Surprisingly, they let me sleep until I woke up around 8 am. I thought for sure they would have jumped on the bed, screaming in delight at the sight of presents under the tree, but they patiently waited. Wow. Middle noted that there were more presents than last year, and she is right. Thanks to Leslie and Tracey, 2 Mountain Mama readers, they each got new jammies, new fleece hoodies, baby dolls for each girl, a train for Baby, and various stocking stuffers. I can't thank you enough for all you've done for my children this Christmas. Thank you, thank you, thank you. They had a good Christmas and more presents than there would have been if not for Tracey and Leslie.

Saturday, the weather cleared and we headed over to my husband's parent's house in Virginia. The grandparents got to have all 7 of their grandchildren together that day. It was a nice day, spent with family, food, laughter and love.

I didn't get into my usual holiday baking frenzy.. something to do with 4 kids constantly vying for my attention. We did make sugar cookies together on Christmas eve, and I made 2 kinds of fudge, peppermint bark, and caramel popcorn for gift-giving, along with jams and farm-fresh eggs. I wish I could have done more, but I can't keep stressing over it, so I'll just let it go. Next year I'll have to remind myself to get started on things earlier.

Any New Year's resolutions?? I won't bother with the usual ones-- dieting, cleaning house, exercising, etc.. I'm always trying to clean house and watch what I eat and chasing 4 kids is enough exercise for me (huff puff). My resolution this year is to be a better person-- to be kinder and try to give back to people. We have been blessed with some wonderful people coming into our lives this year and I want to be able to pass along that kindness. I want my kids to see us doing good things for other people and maybe they'll take away something from that.

Being behind the camera most of the time, and having 4 little ones, it's rare that we get a decent picture of the Husband and I, so I am thrilled to have this lovely photo of us, thanks to my Mother-in-Law. I want to make that another resolution for 2010-- to get more family photos that include me!

Here's another 2010 resolution: Get back into blogging more often. I won't say daily because then I'll feel bad that I didn't blog that day, but at least 4 times a week--- and with the holidays winding down, it'll happen. I'll be making introductions in January, too, so stay tuned to meet the whole gang.

Have a Happy New Year, from all of us here at Mountain Mama.


Monday, December 21, 2009

O Christmas Tree!

It seems like every other year, in my family at least, we have a toddler in the house. Rather than defending the Christmas tree from curious little fingers and sweeping up broken ornaments, we break out the little tree. It's perched high on an old cupboard we have, safe from the grabby hands of Baby.

Its about 3 feet tall, and I wanted to try something different this year, especially since my girls are older now. Instead of going up into the attic and bringing down the ornaments, I challenged the girls to make all the ornaments on the tree this year. They have met that challenge and I am so proud of them and the little tree is just so pretty to look at.

We never had official stockings for the kids, usually just some cheap ones from the dollar store, but they always got misplaced and lost. I decided to make some this year from fleece and instead of doing their whole names, I just cut out the first letter of their names in contrasting colors in fleece and sewed them on. I like how they turned out and the latest line of questioning is where they are going to be hanged.

Along with those button flowers we made, some of the ornaments are made from perler beads-- those plastic beads that you iron to melt together. They have made stars, trees, hearts, snowflakes, peace signs.... This is the snowflake.

Here's the heart.

When I do my sewing, the girls go through my scraps and with a little help from me, make assorted ornaments-- small pouches, houses, snowmen...

Here's a wreath made from little squares of fleece. I've seen this with felted wool scraps and I figured fleece would work just as well. Kept the kids busy for the longest time threading the squares! I was able to get some sewing done while they did this! :o)

I also broke out my fimo clay and let the kids have at it. The Husband worked with the girls on this one and they made wreaths, candy canes, ball ornaments, snowmen, lollipops... For some, I had to stick a paper clip into them for a hanging loop before baking.

I still have a few more ornament ideas to try for the kids to make, and with only a few more days to Christmas, I need to find things they can do with little guidance from me, so I can get some more baking done. I've only made fudge so far, and still have quite a bit left to make.


How can I leave without saying anything about the big snow we got?? 21 inches total for us! Whoa! That's the most we've had since moving here almost 5 years ago. It's absolutely gorgeous up here! The photo up top was taken by the Husband and it's our secondary driveway. Isn't it lovely?

We are snowed in, no way of getting out right now, though the neighbor came and plowed part of our driveway this afternoon. His tractor couldn't make it up the hill, so he left and never came back! Maybe tomorrow he'll come back with chains on the tires and finish plowing the rest of the driveway for us. But we're snug as a bug in a rug up here. The girls are happy to play outside, we have the woodstove going to keep us warm, several days of soup meals to fill our bellies... we are quite happy.

Happy kids!

Baby's first taste of snow! :o)

Hot Chocolate with candy canes to warm up frozen kids- yum!

Stay warm!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Buried Treasure!

Buried treasure: old glass bottles, 1951-62 (based on outline lettering from the Clorox bottle)

The thing that's really nice about old glass is that it can survive. It can be a fickle thing, shattering on impact, but sometimes, if it's lucky, it can be tossed into a pile of trash, covered with dirt and then some years later, be discovered and dug up to be used for something else.

After a good soak and washing, these old bottles are as good as new again! They are four-fifth of a liter so I am assuming they were once used for some sort of alcohol. Beer? Liquor?

They are now a vessel for my peach wine, which is quite tasty by the way. I have gone through every single cap in the house to see if any fits, and wouldn't you know? The only one that fits is from another alcoholic beverage bottle! I am using a water bottle cap, which almost fits, and then plastic wrap over it, secured with a rubber band. I have 4 of these filled right now and another 2 gallons of peach wine to divide into smaller bottles.

It's snowing now, and this is just the thing to keep me warm while we play in the snow! :o)

By the way, I still have 2 fleece puzzles left and if mailed priority by Monday, they should arrive in time for Christmas, so if you want one, send me an email with "Puzzle" in the header. Check a couple posts down for more info.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gingerbread Houses

Our local Library has great activities for kids every month and this month was no exception-- Gingerbread Houses!! Last Saturday, they provided all the candies and frosting and pre-made gingerbread houses (actually graham crackers) for the kiddos to decorate. How I wish I was a kid so I could have decorated one, too!

The girls hard at work on their houses. The place was packed and I consider us lucky we were able to find 3 seats at the same table. They had so much fun and their only disappointment is that they cannot eat their houses. I have them up on a shelf, safely away from sneaky hands and a forever-hungry dog.

Youngest with her house. She had very, very little help from me and I am amazed at how well she put it all together. I gotta give her more credit for her creativity!

Middle and her house. She said the gummy bears are playing 'ring around the rosie' all around the house.

Oldest and her house. She had several lollipop chimneys which were eaten before I could put the house away. Sneaky thing!

All in all, a very fun project for them to do. I'd love to make my own one day, but I can't get past the fact that it's such a waste of food! For now, I'll just admire the ones I see out there.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fleece Puzzle for Toddlers

**Edited to add:: Only 2 left!!!**

Need a hand-made gift for a toddler?? I whipped up these great little fleece puzzles as gifts for some children in my family and made extra to sell... They are reversible puzzles, a truck on one side, a fish on the other side, and have 6 pieces total. Easy enough for a toddler to do. The puzzle measures approximately 8 x 12 inches.

The fish turned out a little dark here, it's a bit of a brighter orange than what you see above. I have 4 available and they are all slightly different, no two are alike, so what you see in the picture may vary slightly from what you get.

If you buy a puzzle this week, they can be mailed priority and be under your tree by Christmas(for those living in the U.S.)!! Each puzzle is $15(U.S.) and shipping is included. If there is anyone overseas that is interested, shipping will be slightly higher, so that needs to be considered. Send me an email if you are interested: please put "Puzzle" in the header so I know it's not spam.

Happy Holidays!! :o)


Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Dear Mr. Man That Helped My Husband Last Night,

On a very cold night, with heavy sleet coming down, my husband was trying to make his way home safely to his wife and children. He had told me around 8:45 that night that he was on his way home, which meant, allowing for slow driving, he'd be home around 9:45 or so. The roads were slick, thick with snow and ice and not yet salted or plowed by the state road workers, so that meant my husband had to drive precarious twists and turns with no 4x4 or chains on his tires. He managed to drive 20 miles without incident and then on a curve, the truck ended up skidding on ice and landed in a ditch. Not too long after, you came along with a nice, big 4x4 pick-up truck and asked if he was ok. Then asked if he had $50 bucks. Lucky for you, my husband had just cashed his meager paycheck on Monday and had not been to the food store or to the other store to buy a few presents for the kids yet. After handing over $50, you hooked up a chain to my husband's truck and pulled him out of the ditch and up the hill to a gas station. After asking where my husband was headed (another 10 miles through more twists, hills and turns) you gave him your business card and asked him if he had another $50 in case he got stuck in a ditch again. My husband said no more cash and you shook your head. You told my husband that you were going to be at this all night long, "helping" people get unstuck.

Once upon a time, I rode along with a friend's brother, doing the very same thing you were doing last night. We pulled people out of stuck positions for 50 bucks a pop and at the end of the day, made somewhere around $600. Easy money! I suppose it is Karma, that it happened to us and we had to pay $50 to get unstuck. But now that I am on the other side of the game, it hurts to hand over that money, so that my husband could get home safely to his wife and children.

Thank you for your help. I hope that one day, when you are stuck, you get some help and whoever helps you does not charge you $50 to get unstuck. Have a Merry Christmas, sir.


Worried Wife of Stuck Husband


Dear Mr. Man That Gave Husband a Ride Home,

Not long after my husband left the gas station, he made it another 5 miles without incident. In the opposite direction, my Husband could see another vehicle coming fast, too fast in sleet conditions and on roads that still have not been plowed. By then it was 10:30 at night and the poor Wife was worried sick, unable to get through to his cell phone because the mountains block all cell service. As the vehicle came closer, the husband realized that it was in his lane and he had to take action or get involved in a terrible accident. He edged his truck as close as he could to the shoulder of the road but it was not enough and he ended up going into a ditch. Did the other driver stop? No, he sped on by, never stopping to see if my husband was alright.

You came along and stopped to check. You asked if my husband was ok and he was shaken, but fine. Both of you had no chains to pull his truck out, but soon a state snow plow came along and had chains. After pulling my husband's truck out of the ditch, he plowed a little parking lot where many commuters park for carpooling, so that my husband could park his truck there for the night. The last 5 miles to home are the curviest, and the hilliest and he knew, just knew that his truck would not make it that far. You offered my husband a ride, since you were headed that way and so you brought him home safely to me.

Thank you for your kindness, for not being an axe murderer, and for thinking of the welfare of others. You even turned down my husband's offer for gas money. You made a very worried wife happy and I hugged my husband tight when he finally came through the door, around 11:30 last night. May you have a wonderful Christmas with your family. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

With warmest regards,

Relieved Wife


Thursday, December 3, 2009


I love old buttons. Whenever I see a button-filled jar at the flea markets or yard sales, I make a beeline for it. I finger them and mentally pick out the best ones. I have lots of buttons. Pretty ones, glass ones, metal ones, utilitarian ones. I blame my high school sewing teacher for my love of buttons. Never cared or noticed them before, unless I had to button up a shirt.

I was a star sewer in her class. I would finish our appointed projects ahead of schedule, so she let me have individual projects on my own. I picked out a vest pattern I wanted to make, and she let me pick out these beautiful satin-y fabrics for the back and lining, and a lovely rose pattern in rayon for the outside. I wanted something different for the fasteners on the vest, but scanning the racks at the fabric store yielded nothing. Then my sewing teacher broke out her special buttons. It was a lovely tin full of them. She explained the history of a few and I was surprised to learn that some were from civil war uniforms and some had human hair woven into the centers! I never knew that buttons could tell so much about a time period until she showed me her collection.

After I admired her buttons and picked out the ones I liked, you know, you pull aside the pretty or unusual ones and pass by the ones that you don't really care for, she did the unexpected. She let me have them. I picked out 5 I thought were special and put them on my vest. She also had vintage buckles and she let me have one for the buckle in the back of the vest. It was perfect! Just the look I was going for. Sadly, I no longer have the vest, it disappeared when I was traveling and I've not seen it since. I do, however, still have my love of buttons.

So when I saw this idea a while back on someones' blog, I knew I would try it myself. She used hers as pins and I think she even suggested adding magnets for the fridge, but I thought they'd make lovely ornaments for the tree.

Button Flowers!!
Pick out your buttons, arrange them, then glue with Aleene's Glass and Bead glue (I found mine at the craft store).

Middle made that big one from metal buttons.

The kids did the arrangements, I did the gluing. Crack a window or turn on the ceiling fan when you use the glue, it's pretty smelly.

You could use new buttons, they sell bagged ones at the craft store, or use what you have. I admit, I had a teensy bit of an inner struggle with myself when the girls picked out a particularly nice button for their flowers, but I refrained from saying anything. In the end, it makes a pretty flower, right? We used a mix of old and new buttons. When some of my Mom's clothes got ruined in the fire, I snipped off the buttons! Many of these were from Mom's clothing.
After the glue dried (I let it sit overnight), I strung embroidery thread through the button holes to hang on the tree. Some flowers had no exposed holes, so I glued a fuzzy wire twisted into a circle on the back. You could also use a paperclip twisted into a hook, or use an extra ornament hook. I'd like to make more and use them as fridge magnets. These would make such cute gifts! The girls had fun and I have a little more room in my button jars now!! :o)