Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sunporch Chat ♥ with Karen of Homespun Simplicity ♥

Good morning!  Won't you come join Karen of Homespun Simplicity and me on the Sunporch for a chat?

I'm serving chocolate cobbler and coffee because when I asked Karen what her favorite dessert was, she told me chocolate cobbler!  Now I had never made chocolate cobbler before so she shared her recipe with me!  I practiced three times with my family (no complaints from them) and in Alabama at my brother's house before making it to serve Karen.  :)  Trust me......It is delicious!  The recipe can be found on Karen's blog here

Karen has been a long time blogging friend of mine.  I've always felt I was a kindred spirit to Karen in so many ways including our love for the Lord, love of home, prim/farmhouse country decorating, love of family and being so thankful for being home with our children, as well as homeschooling.  I sure wish I could sew like Karen though....I didn't get that talent.  Anyway, I know you're going to enjoy her chat just as much as I did!  You won't see a picture of Karen here today (because she's not really comfortable with sharing it over the web), but trust me, she's a beautiful lady that looks way too young to have almost grown children.....older teenagers that is!  :)   Sit back, enjoy your chocolate cobbler and coffee.....and enjoy your visit!  :) 

Karen of Homespun Simplicity's Profile Pic

1) How long have you been blogging and what/who gave you the desire to blog?

I started blogging on October 15, 2008, almost 4 years ago. At the time, there were a few homesteading blogs I liked to read, and occasionally I would tell or show my husband what I was reading. Then one day, out of the blue, he said, “Why don’t you start a blog?” The thought had actually crossed my mind, but that was as far as it had gone. I’d never considered myself to be much of a writer, and I didn’t know if I would really have that much to post about, but, I decided to give it a try. I didn’t know I would enjoy it as much as I do, and that I would meet so many “kindred spirits” out there, as I have!

2) How did you choose the name of your blog and why?

I liked the word “homespun,” because of how it made me feel when I thought of it. It makes me think of pretty homespun fabrics and the coziness of home. The dictionary defines it as “spun or made at home,” and that is the theme I wanted my blog to revolve around, the home and family. I added “simplicity” to it, because I do try to keep my life pretty simple and uncomplicated, but also, because of my desire to take notice of the simple things in my life--to find beauty in the little things we often take for granted!

3) What variety of topics do you post on your blog (examples - home decorating, family, gardening, recipes, adoption, homeschooling, crafting, etc....)

I post about a little bit of everything--most weeks I do a daybook, where I share about my plans for the week and what is going on in my life. I share about my flowers in the spring and summer, an occasional recipe, thrift store finds, homeschool happenings, decorating, crafting and sewing projects…just whatever!

4) Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

My husband and I have been married for almost 24 years. We have one son and a daughter...and this very spoiled-rotten family member right here...

My family and I are very down-to-earth--we enjoy spending time with each other! We are sometimes (more often than not!) quite a silly bunch. We love to laugh and have fun together!

5) How would you describe your decorating style?

I actually like a variety of country styles, but I tend to decorate in a combination of primitive and farmhouse country. I love to decorate with old things--often things I’ve found in thrift stores or yard sales. I like things that have a history or a story behind well as old black & white photographs, lanterns, quilts, barn stars, candles, and pip berries.

6) What's your favorite color and why?

I think my very favorite color would have to be red--but more in the shades of barn red or burgundy. I’m sure you can find this color in almost every room of my house! I just love it!

I also like black for certain things. Just recently I painted my husband’s and my bathroom sink/cabinet black, and I really like how it turned out!

7) Tell us a few of your favorite things (collections, things that make you happy, etc.).

I love antiques! Anything old makes me happy :) One thing in particular is this old school bell I found in an antique store several years ago. Sometimes I try to imagine the teacher that rang this very bell such a long time ago!

 I love my old crocks and rolling pins...

my old canning jars, unopened can of Dime Brand baking soda that I found the same day as my schoolbell--my antique greenware bowl...

This old butter churn and grater are some of my favorites, too.

The grater was something I bought while shopping with my mom and dad at a used goods store. I saw it and picked it up, but put it back down, because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get it or not. It didn’t have a price on it, but my dad saw me looking at it and said I should see what the man who ran the store would take for it. So I decided I would. I don’t remember exactly what I paid for it, but I know it wasn’t much at all. Now, I’m really glad I got it, because I’m always seeing ones just like it in Country Sampler magazines! And I’m not only glad for that reason, but now, everytime I look at it, it reminds me of shopping with my dad (and mom)...and I like that :)

8) What do you like to do in your spare time (hobbies, crafts, etc..)?

I am seriously addicted to genealogy! I have been researching my husband’s and my family trees for years and years, and I never tire of it. It’s kind of like being a detective :) There is always something new you can find out! Hubby is always telling me I need to be careful or one day I might find out we are related! :) But, seriously, if I haven’t found it out by now, I don’t think that will be an issue! Then, when I finally pull myself away from all of that, I really enjoy doing small crafts and sewing projects. Recently I made some new prairie curtains for my kitchen window, a rag quilt for the back of my sofa, a prim sheep penny rug, among a few other things. I like making things I can use in my home that don’t take a lot of time…otherwise, I lose interest and they never get finished! I also enjoy photography, being around nature and watching wildlife, old black & white movies, thrift-store shopping, and reading. If I could figure out how to do them all at once, I would be one happy camper! :)

9) What does your dream house look like? (Describe and/or include photo)

My dream house would be somewhere way out in the country, preferably near or in the mountains. It would probably look just like this...

It would have a big front porch, which might wrap around to the side, where I could have a porch swing and room for a couple of rockers. The inside would have all hardwood floors, with braided rugs scattered here and there, a fireplace in the living room, and a homemade quilt on each bed. Outside we would have room for a nice summer garden, a clothesline for hanging out the laundry, maybe a few farm animals, and lots of shade trees.

10) If you could visit anywhere, anytime, where would it be and why?

I love being in Amish Country, so that is one place I would enjoy visiting anytime. I like looking at the handmade quilts and hand-crafted items that are often for sale…and just driving around looking at the beautiful scenery.

I took this when we were in Holmes Co., Ohio. One day I would like to travel to the mid-western part of the country. I think it would be interesting to visit DeSmet, South Dakota and Mansfield, MO to see the homes of Laura Ingalls Wilder!

11) Would you share with us a favorite homemaking/organizing tip or recipe, etc..?

My favorite homemaking tip would be to just decorate and surround yourself with things you love. I enjoy having things around me that make me feel contented and “at home.” I like having homemade quilts placed here and there--over a rocker or a chair, having a scented-candle burning, decorating with things I have made. I also like adding a few little white lights here and there. I think it gives off a very cozy atmosphere. We like to sit with just the white lights on in the evenings, whenever we watch a movie or tv.

12) Tell us something about yourself that we might not already know from reading your blog. (something unusual, etc..)

Every Saturday afternoon, when I was a little girl, I remember my grandma would listen to a certain preacher on a local Christian radio program. My great-aunt, which was my grandma’s sister, went to this preacher’s church, and she would often sing a song, dedicated to my grandma, on this broadcast. I especially liked listening for that very reason, because my favorite aunt was singing on the radio! I remember that the preacher on this broadcast had a deep, yet gentle, voice, and that both my grandma and great-aunt thought very highly of him...and although I never got to meet him myself, at least that I can remember (he passed away at a young age), the day would come when we would be connected as family. You see, little did I know when I was listening to him on the radio as a child, I would one day grow up to marry his son! :)

13) I know that you homeschool your children and have done so for awhile. Can you tell us how that came about; how long you’ve homeschooled; and a little about your homeschooling days/curriculum/if you’re part of a support group, etc. (Anything about homeschooling you’d like to share here, Karen).

We started home schooling in 2000, when my son was beginning the third grade. Up until that time he attended public school. However, once he reached first and second grade, he started having a few problems. He has a bit of ADHD, and was having a hard time completing his assignments on time, since he was easily distracted by everything that went on in the classroom…tapping of pencils, shifting of feet, whatever. His second grade teacher was very understanding, but she told us that once he reached third grade and higher, he would probably start having more difficulty because the work would start being more demanding and the teachers wouldn’t have time to work with him individually. So it was a constant struggle. We were always being contacted by the teacher, but what were we to do? It was not that he didn’t understand his work--he was very bright and made excellent grades--he just had a hard time keeping up with their timetable. I know that it was starting to bother him, because when I took him to the bus stop each morning, he started saying to me, “Mommy, will you please homeschool me?” That would really break my heart. We did know a few other homeschooling families--and we had even toyed with the idea ourselves--but I wasn’t sure if I could do it. It was a pretty scary thought for me. But, I knew he needed help, and I didn’t like the way it was making him feel. So after talking with, and getting advice from, the other homeschooling moms we knew, we decided to take the plunge, and began our journey into homeschooling. It was the BEST decision we ever made, and I would do it over in a heartbeat! He did so much better at home, where we tried to keep distractions to a minimum and he could work at his own pace. He did such a great job! He graduated from our homeschool two years ago...and, needless to say, I am very proud of him! There is also another someone I am proud of, and that is, of course, my daughter! She has been homeschooled from day one and is now in 11th grade. To me, knowing that I actually taught her how to read is one of my greatest accomplishments in life. She loves to read, and seems to always have a book in hand! Several years ago, I started making homeschool memory books. I wanted them to have something they could look at in the years to come to remember what we did each school year, and to remember our time of homeschooling together. I make a separate copy for each of us. It does take a bit of time--and ink--but I think it’s worth it.

Each year I usually include an “about me” page, where there is a student picture and they can fill-in their likes, dislikes, favorite subjects, hobbies, etc. There is a page for the subjects they took, current events, extracurricular activities, holiday activities, what we did over the previous summer, such as vacations, daytrips, fairs, picnics, or just ordinary, everyday happenings…and, of course, it always includes lots and lots of pictures! Every year I add the same scripture to the bottom of the cover: “And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up."

14) Tell us a way God has blessed you and/or your family.

Well, first of all, it is a tremendous blessing to know that I have the Lord in my heart and life, and that I can turn to Him in any situation. He has blessed us in so many ways. Growing up, it was always my dream to one day get married, to have a home and children…but besides that, it was always my desire to be a stay-at-home mom. I didn’t know, however, if that could actually be possible in this day and time, but that is still what I really, really wanted. I was still working when my son was born, but after my six-month maternity leave was over, I really couldn’t stand the thought of leaving him. So, after shedding quite a few tears, praying many prayers, and talking it over with my husband, we decided that maybe we could do it after all. That was almost 20 years ago, and, with God’s help, we were able to make it work. Of course, we’ve had to do without the “dream house” for now, but I am so thankful for the time I’ve been able to spend at home with my kids all these years! I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

15) Share any words of wisdom and/or a favorite quote you'd like to leave with us.

  I really like this quote, and believe it is true...

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”
~ Robert Brault ~

 Words from Karen:

Tammy, thank you so much for inviting me to be a quest for your Sunporch Chat. I feel especially honored and blessed that you would ask me. I enjoyed our chat very much!


Karen, thank you so much for being my guest!  I enjoyed it so very much!  Of course, I hope we meet in person one day, but if not here, I know we'll be having a homecoming meeting one day!  :)  Thanks for your friendship!  

Thank you to everyone that joined us today!  I know Karen would love it if you would stop by Homespun Simplicity and visit with her and leave her a comment.   I ALWAYS love your visits and your comments.  You have no idea how encouraging they are to me!    Thank you so much!  :)

We all love blogging friends, don't we?  Well let me introduce you to another one (if you haven't already met her).  Her name is Holly and she's got the cutest little girl named Darbee Rae that sings Amazing Grace like a little angel.  :)  She's having her first fall giveaway, and she'd would love for you to stop by!  She loves meeting new blogging friends!  Tell Holly I sent you!  :)
Have a great day!  :)

♥ Tammy ♥


Anonymous said...

Good Morning, Always fun to meet a new to me blogger. Thanks, Tammy, for introducing us to Karen. I enjoyed the chat very much.

Trace4J said...

Good Morning
Another wonderful visit on your Sunporch friend.
So wonderful getting to know Karen.
Hugs & JOY

cucki said...

hello dear, it is so nice to meet a new blogger friend..
lovely chat..
love for you xxx

Paula said...

It was so nice to "meet" Karen and learn so many wonderful things about her, Tammy... she sounds like a wonderful person!
And the thought of chocolate cobbler is making my mouth water! :)

bettyj said...

What a wonderful visit Karen and Tammy. Karen I will head over to your blog. I loved the preacher on the radio story. We never know,do we? Thanks again girls, I certainly enjoyed my visit.

Farming On Faith said...

What a fun post~ I so enjoyed it!
Have a wonderful day!

Primitive Stars said...

Good Morning, Tammy, what a wonderful lady, so warm and we have so much in common, love many of the things she does. Your Sunprch chats are so great Tammy, look forward to them very much. Thanks for introducing us to Karen, Blessings Francine.

SweetPepperRose said...

Hey Y'all, this way a really great chat session! So nice to know more folks who like the same things we do.

Karen said...

Tammy ~ once again, I want to thank you for inviting me! I had a wonderful time ~ and the chocolate cobbler was delicious! :)I really appreciate your friendship! I liked what you put about hoping that we can meet one day, but if not, we will meet one day in heaven. That was so sweet--and I am looking forward to it! ♥ Hugs, Karen

NanaNor's said...

Hi Tammy, I have followed Karen for many years now but learned some new facts about her and got to meet a new blogging friend. I love your blog and will be back to visit. Thanks for hosting today.

Joy ~ Doodlebug ~ said...


I enjoyed this one! :) These Sunporch Chats are fun, huh?

Love you! 8!

Joy :)

Lois Christensen said...

I so enjoyed reading about Karen and her life! I enjoy her blog immensely! Thanks Tammy!

Anonymous said...

Mama, I enjoyed this one! :) These Sunporch Chats are fun, huh? Love you! 8! Love, Joy :)