Quilts for Orlando

Heart Blocks in Multiple SizesBy now, most people are keenly aware that a terrorist brazenly attacked the peaceful and innocent patrons of Pulse, a club in Orlando, Florida last weekend.  I really don’t feel that I have anything unique to add to the conversation that has naturally arisen online and in the media concerning this event.

I do feel that the best course of action is to sit politics aside (we probably should do this more often, but I digress…) and focus, instead, on our shared humanity and whatever compassionate response that each of us can offer.

The moderator of a quilt group that I am involved in, offered a unique way to be of service to others and also show compassion to those affected in a very tangible way.  I have known for many years that quilters and other crafters are some of the most caring and generous people around.  This project is a great way to give a tangible “hug” to those who need it most right now.

The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild is calling for quilt block and finished quilt submissions to be given to the survivors of the Orlando attack, the families of those who perished, and the police, ambulance, and hospital staffs who helped injured survivors.  For the complete blog post and specifics, click here.

As they are requesting both single blocks (10 inch square)  and finished quilts (48 x 60 inches up to twin size) it is possible for most quilters to be able to participate without an undue drain on time or finances.  The requested theme is Rainbow Hearts and they ask that each quilt and/or individual block have at least one heart motif in it.  I’d bet most of us quilters have enough scrap fabrics to applique a quick heart block (or 12) without having to dig through even a fraction of our scraps and stash.  Mix a hodge podge of those blocks together with lots of riotous prints and colors and you will have a rainbow of sorts.  With beauty coming from the combination of many different elements.

Kind of like the good ol’ U.S. of A.

What are YOU quilting lately?

Till next time,





Kids Learn By Doing

Every child is going to learn differently.  All children use their senses to help them to explore the world and learn many different things, but each child uses this sensory input a bit differently as they process the information.

Most childrAnother Hatchett Job, adopt, adoptive family, adoptive parents, love, creative commonsen rely heavily on visual input.  Some rely heavily on auditory input.  It helps these children to hear about what they are learning as much or possibly more so than just seeing the topic or reading about it.  During the infant and toddler years, children put things into their mouths as part of their explorations.  For some students, adding experience through taste helps them to learn.  Other students need kinesthetic input to enhance their learning.  And to top it all off, most children use all of these sensory inputs to greater or lesser degrees than others.

The schools are supposed to take care of all of this educational stuff, right?  As a former educator, I strongly disagree.  Regardless of whether your child attends a formal school or is homeschooled, the parents lead the way when it comes to education.  Parents who value education and who love to learn will often have children who are more amenable to taking advantage of their education.  Parents who abdicate all responsibility for their child and his or her studies will likely (but not always) raise more lackadaisical students.

Parents need to understand that learning is not limited to a classroom setting.  Learning is just a part of living and exploring as we live our lives.  Learning is an active endeavor.  Some things may be learned passively, but the lessons that tend to stick with us into our adult lives tend to be made more memorable by our active participation in them.

So, how can parents possibly wade through the myriad of possibilities and know how to help their children learn?  It’s actually a bit simpler than you may think.  Another Hatchett Job, adopt, adoptive family, adoptive parents, love, creative commons

All children require some of each of these inputs as they learn, barring a major disability.  The key is to maximize the ones that your student enjoys while making sure they all get a little time at the educational party.

How?  Just follow the five senses for starters.  Here are some examples of things that parents can do with children of all ages to help foster learning by using the senses.

Sight.  This is easy.  Look at what you are learning.  Are there illustrations in a book?  Can you go outside and identify types of leaves or plants?  Can your toddler name the animals in a picture or in a field or petting zoo?

Hearing.  Read to your child.  Read with your child.  Let your child read to you.  Take turns reading.  Even when you are doing the reading, you are hearing your own voice say the words.  For many learners, this stimulates the formation of memory better than other sensory inputs.  Listen to music and learn about composers.  Learn to play an instrument.  Learn how to distinguish bird songs.  Encourage young children to play with the classic See ‘N Say toys to hear sounds and identify what made each sound.

Taste.  There is a great reason that many teachers let students add a cooking component to a lesson, particularly in Geography classes.  Getting the sample the cuisines of another culture is a fantastic way to explore another culture.  When you go on vacation to the coast, does your family try the local ‘catch of the day’?  Do you sample regional dishes and discuss why certain ingredients may be typical of that area’s dishes?  Nothing helps you remember a historic sugar plantation better than the taste from chewing on a piece of sugar cane.

Another Hatchett Job blog, Jan Hatchett, Home Economics, Home Ec, cooking, breadmaking, messy homeschooler, homeschooling, education, learning, hands on
Home Ec is hard work! Photo by Jan Hatchett

Touch.  Children who rely heavily on touch often use movement (kinesthetics) to learn.  Tap a surface as you count with your child.  Let your child feel items that are related to the location you are visiting or a lesson in school.  Learning about Scotland, feel woolen fabric or even pet a lamb at a petting zoo while talking about where wool comes from and how it is processed.  Use manipulatives with math that the child can touch and handle.  Get outside and dig in the dirt to plant flowers or make rubbings of tree bark or leaves.  It’s okay to get dirty.  In some circles, a little dirt is much appreciated!

Smell.  Even been near a paper mill?  Particularly before the EPA regulated emissions, those were some stinky places!  Once you have experienced that sulphurous smell, you will never forget it.   The olfactory glands in our brains are located very near our memory centers.  This is why certain smells can evoke memories with shocking clarity.  The smell of theater popcorn or cookies baking in Grandma’s kitchen help us to recall information.  Students use this, too.  How many 40-somethings remember the smell of mimeograph fluid on school handouts?

Of course, this is not a definitive listing of methods for enhancing education, but it is a good start to encourage inquisitiveness and observation about the world around us while using the senses.  Learning is an active process, so get away from the television and cell phones and start interacting with the people and places nearby.

How do you use your senses to learn?

Till next time,



Free Pig Food

One of the best parts of our piggie co-ownership is that our friends have land that the pigs are using to root and forage in.  This clears and fertilizes the land for their garden expansion next year.  This helps to minimize the amount of feed that we need to purchase for the pigs.

But, pigs being omAnother Hatchett Job blog, creative commons attribution, kale, healthy foods, superfood, recipenivores creates a great situation for feedings.  Frugal families can feed many things to their pigs safely, thus reducing the monthly food bill.  The following are just a few ideas of things that pigs can eat and grow on.

  1.  Kitchen and table scraps.  If you are not keeping onion peels, celery tops, and carrot nubs for making stock, they can be tossed into the pig pen.  My friends have advised me that large amounts of fruits at one time (particularly fruits with pits) can be a problem, but if given in modest amounts over time they are fine.
  2. Garden leftovers.  Any produce that you have grown that was damaged beyond the point of human consumption will be great for your pigs!  Even things like corn stalks, shucks, and cobs can be added.
  3. Co-op leftovers.  I have a cousin who gifts me anything in her weekly co-op purchase that she feels can’t be used up quickly enough by her family to prevent spoilage.  Sometimes this isn’t much, but occasionally it can be buckets full of large cucumbers on the verge of spoiling, leaf lettuce that has seen better days, or questionable bags of kale.  She is pleased that these items don’t go to waste and end up in a landfill and I am grateful that it reduces our feed bill.

I am sure that the homesteader that is determined could find all sorts of ways to provide save moneyfree and low cost foods to their pigs to keep the feed bills lower.  As for now, we are finding enough for our growing piglets.  I will likely be exploring more ways in the future as they grow and require more food.

For more of our adventures in raising pigs, click here.

Are you raising livestock this year?  What are your feeding tips?

Till next time,


Let A Professional Assist Growing Your Blog Outreach

This is another post from LinkedIn.  I’d love to network with my blog readers, so if you are on LinkedIn, reach out to me!

There is something magical about having a blog.  Like the diaries and journals that many of us had in childhood, there is something intensely cathartic about the reflection involved in writing about specific situations and life in general.  Better yet, as we get older, we find that in reaching out online we connect with others.

Then, it hits you…other people (other than your Mom) are reading what you write and are Another Hatchett Job, blog key, blogging, professional blogging, writingconnecting with it.  Your blog grows slowly, but it grows!  Soon, you have people waiting to see what you will share next.

Eventually, life happens and you aren’t able to focus as completely on your blog, you want (need) to take a vacation, you face an emergency or you just get busy.  Your blog suffers and readership growth grinds to a halt.  It happens to the best of us.

Continue here….

Have you ever written guest posts for another blog?

Till next time,


10 Times You Need a Proofreader

As I am taking on new clients, I finally got some posts finished over at LinkedIn today and I wanted to share them with my blog friends as well.

Anyone can write, but not everyone can write really well.  And far fewer are the ones who book and glasses ccwrite really well and can effectively proofread their own work.  The truth is simple; it is far easier to proofread someone else’s work than to objectively work on your own.


Till next time,


Saving Money on Prom Flowers

Another Hatchett Job, dogwood corsage and buttonaire, diy crafts, frugal prom, photo by Cyndie HogelandOkay, I realize that this post should have been written and posted a couple of months ago in order to be truly helpful for this year’s prom goers.  I apologize for the bad timing.  But, flowers for prom are also a great deal like flowers for weddings, Mother’s Day, wedding and baby showers, and other occasions, so the same information can still be useful for other times of the year.  At least, I truly hope so!

I am quite lucky that my DS18 is dating a wonderful young lady, who happens to be one of my best friends’ daughters.  This proved quite helpful to coordinate efforts and share costs as we both needed to provide flowers for her daughter’s prom night.

I don’t have a full tutorial, as I was not organized enough to take the appropriate photos, but I did consult a few video tutorials ahead of time that were terribly helpful, so I will link to them below in case someone would like to view them before starting their own projects.

As my boys have been homeschooled and weren’t terribly interested in proms and other formal events, I didn’t arrange for them to attend one.  So, this was my first formal dance to get prepared for.

We priced flowers at a few places, but it was apparent that due to a super hectic schedule Another Hatchett Job, dogwood corsage and buttonaire, diy crafts, frugal prom, photo by Cyndie Hogelandthat day, we weren’t going to be able to keep them cool and fresh between the time we would have to pick them up and time to pick up his date.

So, that pretty much helped us to decide on silk flowers, which will also be a lovely momento of the date.  Pricing a simple, white, silk, pretty plain wristlet corsage nearly gave my frugal soul a heart attack!  The mass produced model was nice, but would set us back $40 from a grocery store florist.  If I was going to pay $40 for a corsage, I wanted something more along the line of an orchid than fabric roses.

Our date liked the idea of a largely white and silver corsage to go with her dress (a tasteful navy blue number that was classy and stunning).  When queried, her favorite flower was the dogwood (not a standard floral choice).

So, my friend and I decided to surprise the kids and craft the prom flowers ourselves.  We went to our local Hobby Lobby and found a wristlet, floral tape, floral wire, wide lace ribbon (for the “puff” that the flowers sit on), silver and navy ribbons, pins, pearl sprays, silk fern, and (gasp) a spray of lovely, silk, dogwood flowers.  I didn’t get the receipt, but we split the supplies and spent way less than $40!

Another Hatchett Job, dogwood corsage and buttonaire, diy crafts, frugal prom, photo by Cyndie HogelandOn a night with no kids around, we met and created the corsage and boutonniere to match.  It took a bit of work, but the end results were so impressive and nicer than anything we looked at.  The kids were both thrilled at the results and completely surprised by the dogwood flowers.

In the future, as she goes off to college, if they choose to go to another formal dance together, these can be used again and will still look much more special than the mass produced ones that we originally saw.

I referred to the following videos for ideas and techniques as it had been a few years since I had done any floral crafts.

Till next time,



How I Became an Accidental Pig Farmer

Another Hatchett Job, photo by Ethan Hatchett, pigs, accidental pig farmer, homesteadingHubby and I have always loved the idea of being more self-sufficient and saving money where we can. We have occasionally considered livestock animals, but only recently have we lived somewhere that it was feasible to have them.

Unfortunately, the land has covenants that prevent having any sort of large livestock animals (other than horses). Chickens and other birds have not been viable options because my father (we live together with my parents) absolutely loathes them.

So, that has pretty much put a damper on our desire to have more control (and better prices) for the meat that we eat. That is, until recently!

Friends of ours live on property that is partially covered by an incredibly thick mass of

Another Hatchett Job, homesteading, pigs, accidental pig farmer, pig shelter, photo by Ethan Hatchett
Setting up the pig shelter.

blackberry canes. Last year, they raised a piglet for the freezer in a movable pen. The pig feasted on blackberry leaves and rooted up the canes, leaving clear, fertilized land that can be utilized for garden space. This year, they sought to double their clearings by raising two piglets.

But, they didn’t really need two sows worth of meat in their freezer, so they were putting the word out that they wanted someone to split the responsibility, the work, the expense, and the meat.

Long story short, we jumped at the chance and became kinda, sorta pig farmers. We have the benefit of someone else’s land and forage for them, as well as expertise in knowing how to successfully raise them. This greatly increases our chances for success by shortening our learning curve!

Another Hatchett Job, pigs, livestock, accidental pig farmer, homesteading, photo by Ethan HatchettWe chip in for food (which can include kitchen scraps as well as commercial feed), help with labor, and watch over them when the other family wants to travel. Plus, we are learning a new skill set that we enjoy dabbling in. It’s completely a win-win for us (we hope it proves worthwhile to the other family as well!).

Have you ever cared for livestock animals?

Till next time,