"Our homes, imperfect as they are, must be a haven from the chaos outside. They should be a reflection of our eternal home, where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find compassion.”
~ Jani Ortlund

Thursday, November 27, 2014

So Blessed

Thanksgiving 2014 will live long in our memories.

Great food, great fellowship, great family times.  Lindsay and Joseph were here for a while before heading over to Joseph's family's home. 

Tim's brother Dan, and his family joined us this year.  Most years Dan and his family are in West Africa, so we don't take these opportunities to be together lightly.  We also had our friend Denny, and two college girls who grew up in West Africa and went to school with our niece.  

 Photo Credit: Lindsay Musser

 Photo Credit: Lindsay Musser

Photo Credit: Lindsay Musser

 Photo Credit: Lindsay Musser

Photo Credit: Lindsay Musser





My parents, Nate, Kay, and Kamryn, Emma were also here.  

My heart is so blessed.  

We devoured two, slow roasted turkeys (thankful that there are leftovers), mashed potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, mac and cheese, stuffing, roasted sweet potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, dinner rolls.  For dessert we had pumpkin pies, a lemon meringue pie, Boston Cream pie, pumpkin rolls.  I made a chocolate pie that was Gluten free and sugar free (on plan for me) and my mom made a special THM pumpkin roll that was fantastic!









I am thankful that I was able to enjoy almost everything that was on the menu today and most had the slight modifications that would allow me to eat them.

We feasted today, but the real feast was in time together.  A big snowball fight, snowman making, coffee and tea drinking, playing with Kamryn, sharing life together.

I'm thankful.  And Blessed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

She's Home!


Excitement abounds!

 A sign the kids made to welcome her home.


 This is Kyle's section - he is telling her he loves her, and drew her a sunflower.

 Sarah's been growing and was hoping to be taller than Emma but not yet!






Oh yes, she's home all right, and not one person is happy about it at all!


video
And ahead of the snow!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Home Keeping:Simmering Potpourri

Today was a day to refresh the house.  After a few weeks of cold weather, it was very warm today.  And breezy, too.  Have I ever told you I love the wind?  No?  Well, now you know something new about me!

It was so very lovely.

We opened doors and windows and let the fresh air in!  It was so nice, and especially nice because on Wednesday of this week we are supposed to get six + inches of snow!  Amazing since it was almost 70 degrees today!

I also made a homemade simmering potpourri today.  It smelled so good, and I can use it over and over.



Here is how I did it.

1. Thinly slice two oranges and two lemons.

2. Fill a pot with water and add the citrus slices.

3.  Add cinnamon and cloves.

4. Turn the simmer burner on your stove on and let it simmer away.

That's it - easy peasy.  Oh, and as the water evaporates, you can just add more water.

I'm loving the simple, homey, projects I've been doing.  I love caring for my home and family in this way.  

Have you been working on any project lately?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Holiday: Christmas Lights In The Hallway


One joy of the winter season is using candles and lights to bring warmth and well, light to our homes.  It is dark here now at 5:00pm and I love going around turning on soft ambient lighting and enjoying candles burning. 

A favorite way to bring light to our home at this time of year is through hanging up strings of Christmas lights.  Rachel has a string hanging from the upper bunk in their room and it lights up her space on the lower bunk.  Kyle has a small string of icicle lights hanging over his bed.  Soon we will have our tree up and garlands 
and lights galore. 

This year we decided to try a new idea we saw on Pinterest.

 I bought some Command Strips and Tim helped up hang up some old icicle lights in our small, but darkish hallway.

 They go all the way down the hallway we all really like how it looks, even with a section of the lights out. (frown)  I'm going to pick some up this week to have all the lights working.  It makes the hallway feel magical.

I'm thankful for fresh and fun ideas, to help banish the darkness.  We will be celebrating the LIGHT of the World entrance into humanity soon.  I love this time of year.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Holidays: Getting A Head Start On Christmas

With Thanksgiving being a late date this year, it leaves only 4 weeks before Christmas.  I don't want to put up Christmas decor when we haven't had Thanksgiving yet, but I do love Christmas and want to enjoy it as long as possible.

My solution is to bring in a few natural things that will work for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

 I love the Colonial period of American history and have been adding more natural decor at Christmas time the last several years, so making clove studded oranges was a perfect fit.

 I simply bought some inexpensive whole cloves

 And created a pattern or two


My wiggly assistant

Then I tucked them into the trough on my table.  It fits in with the natural items used for Thanksgiving and next week I'll change out the berries and leaves for pine boughs.

I'll probably make a few more of these.  They are so easy.  It took me about 15 minutes or less to make each one.

Check out some of the ones I have found on G**gle images.




I think I may need to try a more intricate pattern!  Amazing.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Home Keeping: Preparing For Thanksgiving



 We host Thanksgiving every year.  It is such a joy to do so.  I love having family and friends join us for this day that we set aside to focus on Thankfulness.

I always slow roast my turkey so that it is perfect every time.  This will not give you a picture perfect bird, but it will give you super moist meat that is falling off the bones and the moistest breast meat you've ever tasted.


This holiday is all about the meal for us, so we love to have a real feast!  Turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry salad, rolls.  And pies.  Pumpkin, Apple, Chocolate Surprise, my Mom's pumpkin roll.


 I learned to make stuffing as a girl.  My grandma taught me.  We would use bread that had been dried out for a few days, and add sautéed onions and celery, sage, poultry seasoning, salt, some broth, and a few eggs.  Delicious.  I still make it the same way.


 I love to set a beautiful table.   Candles in silver candelabras, cloth napkins, beautiful dishes, and flatware.  Crystal glassware.


We usually do it buffet style, so that the people at the table are not crowded with the food.  I have a 9 foot counter that works perfectly for this.  

For drinks we will do sparkling grape juice, and cider.  And of course coffee and tea.

I am cooking the turkeys, and Emma likes to do the mashed potatoes.  We'll roast the sweet potatoes too.  My Mama always brings turkey too, the cranberry salad, pumpkin roll and pumpkin pie.  My in laws are bringing  green bean casserole and apple pie.  Nate and Kay will provide drinks and cranberry sauce, and dinner rolls.  We all do some and then no one is overwhelmed.

We will feast and laugh and be thankful.

I'm looking forward to it.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Animal Husbandry: Winterizing the Animals

We returned home Tuesday evening from a quick trip to Monogahela for our beloved Aunt Mary Lou's funeral.  It was so good to be there with family, and to celebrate her life and express how blessed we all were to know and love her.  She would have been quietly pleased with it all.

We returned home after dark, in the deep cold.  We quickly unloaded the car, and Tim and Rachel put blankets on the horses and gave them their evening feed.



 Sandy


Both of these photos were taken several Novembers' ago.  They weren't blanketed yet, but this year they now are!
Cheyenne

We usually ease into winter but it has hit us with a fierceness (thank you Polar Vortex).  So the suddenness of the cold and that fact of being away means we will have to finish quickly work that we thought we had time to do.

Here is a brief list -

1. Put the light in the chicken coop.  We use a timer and it comes on during the coldest portion of the night.

2.  Put the heater in the horse trough.  This keeps the water from freezing and refreezing.




3. Restock the horse grain and chicken feed.  Even though they all range around eating in the pasture and for the chickens, all around the property, they need extra feed at this time of year.

All of the regular care for these animals as well as our dog and cat continue as usual.  We just need to do a few extras during the winter.

Do you have animals that live outside of your house?  What kinds of care do they get for winter where you live?