Creekside Cottage Friends

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Bits and Pieces

Today, after her classes, my girl heads home!  Her small school works on trimesters, so their break at Christmas isn't as long as a university's.  

Tim has 5 more days of work (including this weekend) then he's on vacation!  His birthday is Christmas Eve and so we will go to lunch for his birthday, and spend the rest of the day together with the family.  In the evening we will open our stockings and then watch The Nativity Story.  It's our family tradition.  

The kids and I spent part of our day with friends yesterday.  I just love a visit at Christmas time!  My friend Amy has great decorating style and her home is warm and inviting.  I took this photo from my seat on the couch.  

Aren't her Pottery Barn stockings great?

She gave me a gift she knew I'd been wanting for years.

 Isn't it darling?  I have wanted a Nativity set for Kamryn, and future grandchildren could interact with, without worry about it breaking.  This set fits the bill!  Perfect for babies, toddlers and preschoolers!  Kamryn said "This angel has stars, so it is the Star Angel."  Thank you Amy, love you!

If you didn't see Cheryl's wonderful home tour, you should!  Click here to see it.

Vee shared yesterday how she was inspired by Cheryl's poinsettia in a crock, so she put hers in a tin.  They both look great, so that inspired me to take the green foil off of mine and plunk it into a white metal bucket I have!

I also added red plaid ribbon!  It looks so much better!

Tim's Mom arrived from Florida Wednesday evening so we popped over to his brother's house last evening to say hi!  I love this photo of Grammy and Kamryn.  It was taken in very poor lighting, but you can still see their happy faces!

Grammy will be coming to our house in the evening on Christmas Day and will stay with us for the rest of her visit.  Tim's vacation means that he will get a whole week with her, without him having to leave to go to work!

We also will be visiting friends when she is with us, and I know she'll enjoy it.  She loves people.

I have a few gifts to wrap still, and a few things to pick up for the birthday boy.  But then I am done!

I have a busy day ahead so I must go.  I'm loving the Christmas season!  How about you?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Cat Is On My "List"

He's been a nice cat, easy to deal with considering he started out life as the off-spring of a barn cat.  We weren't sure how he would do living with people, but we figured that if he couldn't adapt, he would be a great barn cat in our barn.

He did adapt to family life and has lived a very happy, spoiled life.

Two things have happened this week however, that have him on my Naughty list!

The first thing happened Sunday.  As I went to pull back the covers on my bed at 11:30 pm (after a full day of church and hosting about 20 people in the afternoon/evening) I saw something not pleasant.  The cat had hacked a hairball on the bed, down the side of the bed to the floor where there was a puddle of unpleasantness and a nice big hairball attached to the bottom of my dresser!  I had to strip the bed, and being exhausted and not having my other flannel sheets out of the laundry yet, I simply pulled up the comforter on top of the unmade bed and went to sleep!

The very next day, after being away all day, we came home to find that said cat, had left unpleasantness of another sort on MY BED.  This time the mattress over was involved, and my comforter!  OY!

I cannot believe it!  I think everything may now be laundered and ready to be put back on the bed.  It's been a crazy week and it is only Wednesday!  

Our cat, Watson, is banned from my room and he is going to have to be a very good boy to get off the Naughty list!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Home Economics: Candle Making

My friend Becky makes the best soy candles.  She has been making them in her kitchen for 9 years, and this year her business, Good Neighbors Candle Company,  has had its best year ever.  We are very happy for her.

In the midst of all her busyness, she kindly and happily said she'd love to teach the girls how to make candles for their Home Ec class!

Yesterday we meet in her busy candle kitchen and the girls made candles.

 The girls got to pick out a scent each and then they could make candles from all four scents.  Rachel, who has helped Becky before, chose a favorite scent Chocolate Hazelnut Cappuccino.  This one is made by mixing hazelnut cappuccino oil with a fudge brownie oil!  Yum!  Sarah chose Ginger Lime (this smells so fresh), Quinn chose Hot Chocolate (you mix the fudge brownie oil with Hot Cocoa oil), and Brooke chose French Vanilla.  Her kitchen smelled great yesterday!

This table shows the big blue wax melter, boxes of jars, the bags of  different size wicks, and bottles of oils and color.

 She buys her wax in 50 pound boxes.  It comes flaked like this which makes it easier to melt.

 Here Becky is talking to Sarah about the Ginger Lime candles she was going to make.  Becky has the bottle of scented oil.  

 This color added to the wax will make a very light green candle when it dries.  To get the darker green for some of the candles the color was nearly black in the measuring cup!

The girls each got to set their wicks.  You hot glue them in and press it down all around on the metal holder.  You then attach a wick holder to keep the wick taut.

Sarah is pouring one of the darker green candles.  See the color difference?

The girls helped Becky make French Vanilla tea lights.  They all got to help set the wicks.

 You pour almost to the top in the first pouring, then give them an hour to cure.  The second pour is small and just fills in any potential holes by the wick and smooths out the top of the candle.

 These are hot chocolate candles.  They will be a light brown when solid.

 This is French Vanilla.  You don't add color to this one, just scent since the soy wax is white already.

We had such a great time yesterday and Becky even feed us lunch!  She loves to teach and loves candle making so she had a great day too!

 Here is one of Rachel's Hazelnut Cappuccino candles.  See how light they turn out?

 Sarah made a few French Vanilla candles

and a few Ginger Lime candles.  

We are all so thankful for this opportunity for the girls.  Don't I have the niftiest friends?  Thank you again, Becky.  You made the girls (and their Mama's) very happy.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Weight Loss Update

I have lost 27 pounds in the last 15 weeks, following the principles of Trim Healthy Mama.

I'm amazed by that.  At times it's been frustrating when the scale didn't move for two weeks, or like this last week.  But I keep on with my eating plan.  Am I doing it perfectly?  No, but I am trying and I am losing so that is a very good thing.

An issue that I have been working through this week, is that I feel like I still look the same as I did nearly 30 pounds ago.  When you have a significant amount of weight to lose, it can feel like you will never get there.  

I have had to look at the fact that some of my clothes don't fit me anymore and to look at 'before' photos.  The sweater I wore to church yesterday is big on me, but I still am significantly overweight.  This is where I find I just have to give it to the Lord and trust that I will lose the weight - Hey I've lost almost 30 pounds!  I had hoped that I would be almost 40 down by now but the weight loss has slowed a bit, and yet I am still losing!    I know that I can eat this way for life and that my weight will never be an issue again.  I am going to read through the book again.  I feel like I did somethings in the beginning that helped me that I have stopped doing, so I want to get back to those things again.

I'd appreciate your prayers, for encouragement, and to keep on!  I have to remember that this weight did not get put on all at once and that my body is healing and losing a bit at a time!  I am thankful for this plan!

I'm going to take a brave step here and let you see a mortifying photo of myself from this last year.

Now, this morning in my bathroom mirror wearing the same sweater.  Warning!  I'm the worst selfie taker in the world!

I needed these as a reminder of how far I have come, and that I will be able to lose all the extra weight I'm carrying!

Praising the Lord, here at the cottage, this morning.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Few Sweet Gifts

The main joy of blogging, to me,  is the friendships I've made over the last 7 years!  One of the longest is my sweet friend jAne who blogs at {& wear}Pearls.  She recently had a wee giveaway on her blog and she let me know that I had won!  It has made Christmas all the more fun!

The gifts she sent are all reflections of jAne, they are so her.

 A beautiful ivory ribbon rose pin, with pearls in the center.  I love this.

 This beautiful crown banner ornament.  At least I am using it as an ornament right now.  I will probably find another place for it to hang the rest of the year.  Hope is a message we all need year round!

 This sweet antique tree.  I put it in a glass cylinder with 'snow.'  It's pretty on our side table.

 She also sent this antique wreath with pearls.  It is so sweet on my little tree in my bathroom.

 Thank you, dearest jAne.  I feel like I have a part of you here.

I made this canning jar with trees from my village and some 'snow.'  It's very cute sitting on our stairwell wall.

This has been a busy week.  I finished Kamryn's quilt that I was working on for Christmas, finished a crocheted infinity scarf (this makes two infinities and a knitted scarf that are done!), I'm working on another infinity scarf.  I got a few gifts purchased while I was out grocery shopping yesterday.  We've bought some online, I have a few more to order online as well.  We've really downsized what we do gifts wise for everyone.  It was all getting to be too much.  We will enjoy our gifts, we will enjoy our time together, and we will remember Christ and His coming, and why He came.  That is the sweetest gift of all!

We are excited to have Tim's brother and sister in law nearby this year, and his Mom will be up from Florida to spend a few weeks with us all.  That is a real treat!

How are you doing with your Christmas preparations?  I know that for many the holidays are challenging due to loss of loved ones.  I'm praying for those I know about, and I know you are doing the same.  

My girl heads home this Friday, and will have a 3 week break!  I'm so excited to see her!

Have a happy weekend, Friends!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Morning Routine

I go out in the mornings and feed the horses and let the hens out of their coop.  I don't have to do it, but I am enjoying it.  It helps me to have a sense of how the animals are doing.  Usually Tim or Rachel do most of the animal care.

Here I am headed out from the house (which would be on the left) to the barn and pasture where the chicken coop is.  

Tim built both the barn (with help from my dad and the girls) and the chicken coop.  Here you can see the results of the windy day we had yesterday with the leaves sticking to the upper door of a stall and it looks like some hay is there too.

Sandy always greets me at her door, even if she is outside the barn as I walk up.  Here I have opened her upper door and she is making sure I notice she is here!

 I open the sliding door and head toward the hay.  To the left out of the shot is the riding mower.  The trash can with the white bucket on top is full of chicken feed.  To the right out of the photo is another big trash can with horse grain in it.

Sandy, moving around in her stall.

 I give Sandy her grain first.  I have to go out of the barn to the stall door again and open it and pour in their grain.  Sandy is top mare and if I put grain in Cheyenne's feed bucket first, Sandy will go into Chey's stall and chase her out and eat her grain!  So Sandy gets fed first.  

 Cheyenne makes her way into her stall after I pour the grain into Sandy's bucket.  Here she is pushing her bucket making noise.

 I talk to them the whole time I feed them.  They are used to me now, and don't mind me as long as I'm bringing them food!

After I give them grain I carry hay out to the pasture for them.  I've been putting it in a high spot, because we had rain several days this week and since the ground hasn't frozen yet, it's pretty mucky.  I do all of this without going into the pasture.

 After the horses have been fed I head through the gate to the chicken coop.

 It's on wheels so it can be moved.  The cold weather and snowy ground has the chickens hanging out up top in the coop.  The front door is this section with the sliding locks.

I unlock both locks and pull the door down and off the coop.

 Normally there are at least 7 of the 10 hens waiting to be let out.  They like to run to the barn, to eat any grain the horses or I may have dropped!
Today though, they were in no hurry to go anywhere.


Good morning girls!  This photo was taken through the door to the nesting boxes.  You can see their roosting posts.  These gals are headed to the ramp that will take them down to the bottom of the coop and out the front.

 I grabbed the only egg waiting for me and saw Tim heading my way.  He's just home from work.

Does he look tired?  He and I took a walk together around the property.  We like to have a look at how things are looking and talk about what we else we could do with the land.  Today we talked about getting a steer to raise for beef and whether it would be cost efficient or not.

These girls free range all day.  But they do have a waterer and feeder in their coop.  Tim took time to refill the feed and check out the waterer.

I looked up and saw Cheyenne rolling.  I didn't catch her quick enough.

I'm thankful to have this land to raise our family on and to use it to benefit us as a family.  We've been able to use it to host many gatherings, and Sunday activities.  It's work, but it's a blessing as well.

After this I head inside to make my breakfast, usually of fresh eggs.  Then the kids get up and eat and we start school.  Thanks for coming with me this morning!