"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

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Siblings

Lindsay took some great photos of the kids this summer. I thought I would share them with you.




Friday, January 29, 2010

Alicia Is Having A Giveaway!


Our Little Guy

My niece in love is having a giveaway! She has recently opened an Etsy store selling her darling handmade "Little Lisey's".

This is the one she is giving away....Click on her button above to join in!

Winter Is Back

www.allposters.com

Winter is back - no snow but frigid temperatures!

I am off to do my 'merchant ships' thing, and I am dreading the cold and wind! I will be dressed appropriately though!

Weather like this makes me so thankful for our warm home, hot things to drink, and the coziness of our family life! We will bundle up this evening and head to church for a game night. I am planning on knitting and visiting!

Tomorrow will bring more outdoor work like last week, felling trees, clearing brush...I need to plan for warm meals and treats for all my hard workers...

Enjoy your day - I love my Friday's out, sometimes with one of my girls, but when I go alone I have my ipod to listen to good messages or good music. I will stop by the library today to pick up "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society." Paula recommended it so I thought I would give it a read. Have you read it?

What are your plans for the weekend?

ps- check out Very Calm for a great quote from J.R. Miller - Priceless

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My First Grandchild Is A....

www.allposters.com

GIRL!!!!

Oh, my...it is still sinking in. The parents to be had an ultrasound done on Monday and found out that it is a daughter for them! What a precious gift we are all being given, by the Creator of All Life!

I immediately went to the store and bought soft purple yarn and soft pink and have started on one of many future knitting projects! I also have been thinking of some sweet cream colored flannel fabric with pink roses that I have in my stash. This wee granddaughter is to be born in June, so she won't need flannel anything right away, but come fall I am thinking she made need Grandma to make her a sweet little dress...

We are praying for her already. I have been asked to be there when the baby is born, I am so excited! I got to be there when my great nephew Elijah was born and that was so special, but this will be amazing! I know that I will cry for joy!

I have less than 6 months to go...I better get knitting!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Living Room and Kitchen On A Rainy Day



The photo quality is not great and it was a very rainy morning, but I wanted to show you what my living room looks like now that I have moved the tv and the computer downstairs to the family room.

This is what you see when you enter through our front door, but friends all enter through the kitchen door that you see.

This is our real life, dogs in the house, kids playing around, coats and bags on couches - the older girls were going to a friends house for the afternoon. If you look closely you can see dishes drying on the stove....probably dust on the piano as well!

You can see the cute child's chair we found at Goodwill, with the lamp on the piano it makes for a cozy reading or knitting spot.

We have a lot of company especially on the weekends, and the arrangement of the furniture insures that there is comfort and is set up for easy conversation. I have room for some bookcases behind the one couch and possibly a small chair in the corner as we love our reading nooks! I am going to play around with that space a bit and see what I come up with...

With no budget for decorating, I most often repurpose items or change rooms around to give me a new look or feel in a room, rather than purchasing something. Do you change this around alot or is this just a sickness I have? Tell me I am not alone!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Felling Trees

www.allposters.com


The girls are busy today helping their dad fell some trees for our near neighbors and clearing a section of our own property. Our neighbors have some health issues and we are happy to be able to help them to remove some trees that have fallen. The section we are clearing has a huge walnut tree that was split three ways during a storm this past summer and a lot of over growth. We are clearing that area not only to make it look neater and tidy, but because we are going to plant fruit trees and do some raised garden beds in that area.

The girls aren't dressed quite like this young maiden in the painting, except for Sarah perhaps, but they do have a knight keeping an eye on them - their Dad! He is manning the chain saw and they are hauling wood, driving the truck, putting brush on a big burn pile...They are a good crew for their Dad and he is so grateful for their willing, cheerful help. Also, Jonathan from Hospitality Lane is making his way here to lend his considerable strength and helpfulness. We are thankful for the willingness on his part to give up a Saturday to lend a hand.

My job is to keep the coffee hot, have hot water available for cocoa, make sure there is a nice, hot lunch and generally be available. I also have some laundry to fold, and I am hoping to clean my floors. However that may need to wait until after dinner, when they will be done tracking mud and dirt etc, into the house!

What are you doing this weekend? Do tell!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mantle Party Every Friday


Who knew?

Every Friday there is a Mantle Party! What fun!

Thanks Marcia for letting me in on the fun...you should all check it out, if you get the chance!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

An Evening Out

www.allposters.com


Last evening my sweetheart and I went out to dinner. We sat at a table for two, and feed both our stomachs and our souls. It is so wonderful to be in sync with the one you love.

We chatted about politics; there was a big election yesterday, we spoke of our children. We spoke of the Lord's work in our lives. We spoke of the last years' events in our lives.

We were through at the restaurant, but not through having uninterrupted time, so we went to a cafe type place for coffee for him, and tea for me. We spent several more hours talking and sharing our hearts, then headed home.

I am so thankful for the time together tying our heartstrings ever closer. How I love this husband God has given me.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Had An Idea For Decorating My Shelf...

Welcome those of you visiting from





Mantle Party Every Friday
and
The Inspired Room!

Enjoy your visit and come by anytime!



I have this large shelf that hangs on a vast wall space over the stairway that leads to the basement. My husband built it for me years ago. This wall is in our kitchen and since our kitchen and living room are open to each other - well, it is a focal point in our living space. It had been
basically the same until this past Christmas when I took everything off of it and put my Nativity set on it. I added hay, borrowed from our horses, and those little mini lights on a brown cord. It was very simple but lovely.

I really wanted to do something different now that I have put my Nativity away for the year. But what to do? I got some new pieces of white pottery for Christmas - a lovely pitcher and a soup tureen. I use my things in my every day life, so I wanted them to be accessible. They are pretty things and I like seeing them. Solution? Put them on my shelf! I gathered all the white pottery that would work on a shelf, and then since I don't have that many, I decided to add red accents. Oh, and then I wanted to put my birdcage back on the shelf - problem was it was a pale green color. Solution? Spray paint it black! Then Emily decided to do a heart fraktur to add for Valentine's Day and voila! I like it.

I am loving the birdcage now that it is black!

The big white pitcher is a gift from Emily and the soup tureen from my mom and dad for Christmas, and the little pitchers are from Goodwill - one is a Wedgwood and the other is Johnson Brothers.

The small red transferware plates are Old British Castles from Johnson Brothers that I found at Marshall's. The larger plate is the same pattern, but it is part of the dinnerware Emily is collecting in her hope chest. She is graciously allowing me to use it!

The tealight holder is a gift from Melissa, the redwork stitchery is a gift from my talented sister in law Miss Paula and the heart fraktur from my sweet Emily. The little white teapot and cup is a one serving tea set that had been my grandmother's.


I needed to run some errands on Saturday as well as work on my shelf, so we made a stop by the Goodwill store, to look for more white pottery.

I found this fun metal wall hanging. I love tea and red so it is a perfect addition to my kitchen. I hung it right above the counter space where I keep my teas! It was priced at .97 cents!

This sweet little white ironstone pitcher was .97 cents, as well! We always check out the furniture area...you never know when you will find a nice bookcase or table etc...guess what we found? A fun and funky little children's chair! It is funky simply because of the fabric - it is colonial scenes and has pops of orange and red! We use red alot as an accent color in our house so we thought it was a perfect fit! I ran into a friend will looking at it. She owns a shop in our area called Lulu and Tutz's and I love to go in there - pretty and vintage style. I showed her the chair and she loved it too - she suggested some red polka dot pillows to accent it! Guess how much it cost? $10!

This chair is in perfect condition. It almost looks unused! The kids all love it - Emily wants it really bad - she keep offering to buy it from me!

We have our living room arranged for conversation! This little chair is the perfect addition!

This little guy thinks it is great! With all the kids in our family and those that are often here with their families, I think it is about time that we had a chair that is just their size! And fun too! What do you think?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Blog Links To Interesting Things...

www.allposters.com - Merchant Ship

First let me say Thanks for your prayers yesterday - I had a great day and besides normal craziness for a first day - co-op went great.

As I make my way through blogland daily I find so much encouragement. It is a blessing to find likeminded friends, keep up with family and learn about new things and meet new people.

As I have a huge grocery gathering day ahead of me, I thought I would share some of my favorite posts with you.

Brenda at Coffee, Tea, Books and Me has been reposting her past "Recession Ponderings." I am linking to #3 from yesterday but all of them are filled with such good things. Her blog is always an encouragement! If you leave a comment tell her you found her through my post!

Stacy at Your Sacred Calling has a good post on sharing your convictions without coming across as legalistic! You can find it here.

Miss Paula at Gathering of Friends is having a 900 post giveaway! Go see what she is giving away, and tell her congratulations! Tell her you found out about it from her sister in law!

Melissa at The Missionary Mama is celebrating the 1st birthday of our adorable great nephew - her second born son! Go wish Ethan a very happy birthday!

Tracy at Unless the Lord is doing a photo challenge today! Go see the awesome photos she has taken!

Well, I need to run, well, drive all over the county today. It is alot of work but I do enjoy this day out.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

School Days, School Days...

www.allposters.com - Early Schoolroom in Colonial New England


We start our co-op again today. It is always great to see everyone after a break, and my kids love their classes. Our co-op is not an academic focused group although we do have classes like literary analysis, lab classes etc. We consider ourselves a supplemental classes group. We offer gym and music, art, science classes, geography, electives for upper grade students. Subjects that are fun to study in larger groups. Our classes are all parent taught.

For me, as the head of the co-op, I feel a tad worn already due to some difficult issues we needed to address over the break. I accept fully that in leadership there is no glory, just expectations that often are unattainable. As the leader of a Christian group, I sometimes feel I am supposed to deal with everything perfectly and if I am treated unkindly, well, I am supposed to deal with it without being offended. I am never to have hurt feelings, etc...

That may sound a tad cynical, but I don't mean it to be. It is just truth. Often times we have higher expectations for our leaders than we have for ourselves. The Lord calls for us to pray for our leaders - I understand why - it's so desperately needed!

So this morning, I have been praying for our group...for wisdom, for grace, for the teachers to enjoy their students, and students to enjoy their classes. I am praying for blessing on the church we have meet in since our group started. I am praying for the wonderful committee of ladies who oversee the various aspects of our co-op day, thus allowing it to flow and function relatively smoothly!

I have been praying for me, too. That I will be energized and be filled with joy and grace. Oh and wisdom too. That's an important one! So needed!

Will pray you for me today and for our group? I want our days of co-op to be a testimony for the Lord.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Aaron's Clothes

I was reading over at Amy's Humble Musings today and read this guest post by her husband Greg. It was really good and I thought you might be encouraged to read it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An Ordinary Day

www.allposters.com Mother and Child - Carl Holsoe


Just an ordinary day for us here yesterday.

Tim went off to work and I got up. I woke Lindsay and she went out to feed the horses and let the dogs out for their morning run around the property. I decided to make waffles, something I rarely do. It was simple and so fun to have the surprise ready for the kids when they got up. I had my laptop at the kitchen table to check my email and read blogs while making the waffles and when Lindsay came back inside we both made waffles and chatted. We have had a fire going in the woodstove almost constantly, and it really helps keep the house warm. It is in the basement and the kids are warm down there while playing and watching movies. We were really pleased with how warm it kept the house last year and even more pleased when we had our propane refilled this year to find we only used half of our propane! What a blessing!

After the younger girls ate breakfast, I sent them in to work on their bedroom. It is a small space with two girls with lots of 'treasures' and quickly gets cluttered. We also decided we would move the bed away from the outside wall for the winter. This will insure they don't get cold in the night.

Lindsay was on laundry patrol yesterday and while she was working on various things on the computer, she kept the laundry moving. That was a huge blessing to us. The kids did schoolwork and then in the late afternoon, Lindsay, Emily and I made dinner. Rachel and Sarah helped a bit too.

I knew that I was going to cook beef and noodles for dinner, but what to have with it? So I mentioned to Lindsay, our resident biscuit maker, that the new video from Franklin Springs of the West Ladies called "The Art of Cooking" had a great recipe for buttermilk biscuits. So we put that dvd in my laptop and watched them make them and then used their recipe and technique to make them. They turned out amazing! Better than Cracker Barrel's buttermilk biscuits! Tall, flaky, yummy!

Rachel and Sarah asked to watch a different West Ladies video - The Art of Canning. They like to learn how to do the things we 'older' women in the family are doing and interested in! We really like this set of videos and find they are way more practical than Martha Stewart.

While Lindsay was making biscuits, Emily and I peeled about five sweet potatoes and I sliced and boiled them. Emily made the beef and noodles. We take beef that has been cut into cubes and dredge them in flour and salt and pepper. We lightly brown them in oil then add water, minced onion, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and beef bouillon to finish cooking the meat. It makes fantastic gravy! We serve it over noodles or brown rice! So good!

When the sweet potatoes were done cooking, I whipped them like I do my mashed potatoes, but I added brown sugar, cinnamon, and heavy whipping cream in addition to butter. They tasted wonderful, sort of like our sweet potato casserole without the topping.

After dinner we had family worship time, we are studying the book of Acts, and the younger kids recited their memory verses. Then it was clean up time for both the kitchen and people!

Before the kids went to bed we had a huge laundry folding party and it was all quickly put away. The young ones tucked into bed. My tired husband off to bed, and me soon after.

We woke a little after 12:00 am to an alarm going off somewhere in the house. It turned out to be Rachel's clock radio. We guess that somehow it got set during the furniture move around in their room yesterday...it didn't even wake them! Heading back to bed I noticed that the older girls light was on and found them talking and knitting still! Don't know what time they went to sleep!

I love days like that - full of everyday activity. The life of the home and of the family.

I read the following poem on a blog yesterday - sorry I don't remember which one.

'To live content with small means;
To seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion;
To be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich;
To study hard, think quietly,
Talk gently,
Act frankly;
To listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages,
with open heart;
To bear all cheerfully,
Do all bravely,
Await occasions,
Hurry never.
In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.'
William Henry Channing


Monday, January 11, 2010

Scenes From A Quick Trip, And Some Serious Thoughts

Friday was a beautiful, freezing cold day here in Pennsylvania. Not too long into the trip Rachel, seeing her sisters snapping away with their cameras, asked for mine and away she went!

When the whole family is riding in the car together the little folk get the far back bench seat. Here Rachel is showing you of Kyle getting all sugared up! What kind of parent in their right mind would let a four year old have a push pop knowing we would all be in the car for about 3 more hours?

Here Sarah looks like she is pleading for mercy....

The day was sunny on the first part of the trip...but did I mention it was cold? It was. Really cold. Think wind chill, you'll know I mean cold.

Our intrepid driver...and Miss Emily who always sits behind the driver, no matter who is driving. She has staked out 'her side.' She knows how to pass the time in the car. Lots of knitting, reading, photography. She is a great traveler.

Then there is this one. The new adult. She almost always has her camera ready....She and Emily were also in charge of the cooler. With all the drinks, lunch, ice etc...One thing to know about our family, regardless of the temperature we still must have our ice in our drinks! Especially me! They also were in charge of the bag of snacks. Things like Swiss Rolls and trail mix. You know the healthy stuff.

I think it is interesting to see the kids develop their artistic eye. Lindsay's hair clip is very pretty and caught Rachel's attention...

Oooh, self portrait...she needs some work on angles perhaps...

Aaaah, a fierce creature has been unleashed in the van....must be the sugar!

She loves her brother...really...she is thinking of squishing his head like a bug!

Our trip to the Western side always takes us through cool mountain tunnels!

Get to the Somerset area and the day changed to snow...it wasn't snowing heavily, and the roads were clear. It had been snowing for several days however, and the trees were coated!

Saturday morning in the hotel room. The big girls and I were watching t.v. While the little ones burned of a little energy...



What kind of mother encourages her children to do such wild things in the hotel? Seriously, jumping from one bed to the other....well, it did allow them to be very calm when we went over to Aunt Marylou's house again...

She was so happy to see everyone. She and Marcia insisted on making dinner for Friday even though we told them not to do it. Aunt Marylou is sneaky though. She waiting until we were just a few hours away on Friday and called Tim's cell to tell us! We were happy to see her and visit with her. She enjoys the kids, and we had some encouraging talks. Her youngest son and daughter have been a real testimony to us all in caring for their parents. Now that Aunt Marylou is alone, one of them spends the night with her. Every night. They hang out with her daily and her daughter Marcia knows all her medications and appointments. What a blessing they are to their sweet mother. She is a momma through and through though, and has a hard time not being the one doing the care giving...but as Marcia told her the other day 'Mother, you took care of us all our lives. Now it's your turn for us to take care of you.' If only every elderly person were this blessed. What a difference it would make in the lives of our senior citizens!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Helping Our Kids To Learn Discernment


Lady of Virtue has an excellent post with guidelines for helping us to discern what kinds of things are being communicated in books, movies, music. You know questions to ask ourselves about it.

Her post got me thinking about how we learn to discern what is good, or rather what is excellent. There are lots of good things out there that we can spend our time on but with our time at a premium I like to try for those things which are the best use of my time.

I have always preread books that I was going to give to my children to read. This allowed me to discuss it with them and to be able to ask good questions to see what they were comprehending. It also helped me when someone gave a series of books to one of my daughters when she was twelve. They were popular books, and this persons daughter had loved them. The mom was so thrilled her daughter was reading for pleasure. But as I read them, I was embarrassed at the adult themes and discussions in the books and amazed that this was popular youth literature. I talked to the mom who was shocked! She had not read them and felt awful that her daughter had!

Now many would say 'well, our children are exposed to much worse at school, or work etc...' but I ask you, does that make it ok? What should our measuring guide be? This isn't as bad as that, so it is alright?

This is a real challenge as our children get older...much of what my girls read, I have already read. They are getting to an age where my husband says that they must choose for themselves what they are going to allow into their minds, through music, books, movies, television. He's right. They are adults or nearly adults and we aren't always going to be able to preview everything. So how do we go about helping our young adults and children learn to be discerning?

One thing we do is talk - a lot! When we watch stuff we ask questions from the time that they are young - "what was that movie about?" "what world view were they teaching?" "Was that dad protecting his family?" "were they showing love to one another? What was the result?" These kinds of questions help our children to view media with a discerning eye.

What kinds of guidelines or things do you use in your families to help you to be discerning with media? I love to learn from you all.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

An Unexpected Trip


We are making an unexpected trip to Western PA to visit Tim's aunt. I hope she is ready because the kids are coming with all their loving and cheerfulness! She will have a good time with them!

We are looking forward to it, it is a quick trip, just one overnight. I am thankful for my parents who are coming to care for our animals and for my children who love an adventure and love their great auntie and are looking forward to seeing her.

She is a precious woman with a loving heart. She has had a hard year. Her oldest son died a year ago Thanksgiving time, and then earlier this year her husband of 63 years died. She still lives in the home they raised their children in. She is blessed to have wonderful children, who take turns staying with her at night. What a blessing they are to her - allowing her to stay in her own home.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Our Time Away

We had a really special time away. My parents were able to join us so that made for 9 people in a 2 bedroom cabin! We doubled up the kids and Emily chose the couch so we all fit. Tip for next time - bring padding for the beds! A little tough sleeping on a rock!
Otherwise the facilities are very nice. Here are some shots of our time away.

This sweet boy was there!

Settlers....
Sarah learned to play rummy...

Emily and Grandma before our walk...

Lindsay loved it all - she, Tim and Emily went on a long hike in the afternoon! They were cold when they got back but had an awesome time!

The winter sky was so beautiful!

We all bundled up for a walk on Tuesday. It was sooo cold. We had fun though at a play area - wait until the girls post their photos of us jumping off the swings and walking on the ice on the lake....

Before we headed home today we went to nearby Hopewell Furnace. We were the only ones there...I guess you need to be crazy to be out in this cold...that lets you know a bit about us, especially when history is available to be experienced!

When the weather is nicer there are lovely volunteers here (not in January or February, but if you go during these months it is free to get in!) showing how they used to make pig iron. They also used to make stoves, and cannons!

This water wheel is very important to the process because the water pressure would power the bellows...isn't it huge?

This kind volunteer was impressed with the kids...they all earned their Junior Ranger badges today! He liked teasing them, and was impressed that Sarah knew why they called it 'pig iron'. Do you know why? When they were making iron to sell to other places to either refine it more or to make it into other items, they made it in long bars of iron...it would pour out and come down this trench and into the bar molds off of the trench...it sort of looked like a sow nursing piglets...so they called it 'pig iron.'

We had a lovely time disconnected for a few days....I read mostly and played some rummy and of course Clue! Can't wait to do it again!