Monday, February 29, 2016

You Are Welcome Here

We love for our home to be a place that people feel welcome.  We want our guests to know that we are happy they are here.

 Its written on signs by the entries to our cottage even!
 

 This is on the kitchen door!

I feel the same about this blog with the same name as our home.

You are welcome here.  I hope you feel that and that you leave encouraged, and like you found a friend.

Blogland has seemed very quiet recently.  Even commenting seems down. I'm thankful that you take the time to visit here in the midst of your busy lives.  It's appreciated.  I have found some of my dearest friends online, and it all began with one comment!

How about you?  Have you made good friends with other bloggers and commenters?  How many of you have met in real life?/  

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Beautiful Sunday

Sunday was a beautiful day.  A blue sky, warm, sunny day!  A real treat for the end of February.

After church we headed out for Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area.  We love visiting this place where Canada Geese, Tundra Swans, and Snow Geese rest twice a year on their yearly migrations.

It's a tad early in their spring migration north, so the lake wasn't full of these beautiful creatures, but there were hundreds of people there to see them!  We weren't the only ones who decided to get out and enjoy the beautiful day.

 Kamryn, Kyle and I rode in the back of the van.  My mom was with us today, and Vinnie and Emma met us there.

video
We like to take the half mile hike down to the Point.  You can see the geese flying up off the lake.  They do this every so often.
 
Next month the lake will be full of of the birds.

 There were lots of cameras with big, big lenses.

 This boy is growing up too quickly.



video
 It was hard to hear the birds over all the voices but you can see the way the birds will just rise up and fly a bit and land in the lake again.

The visitors center is really educational too.




We stopped and got ice cream cones on the way home, and then had a campfire.
 


 It was a beautiful day.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

What's On Your Bookcase?


Judy commented that she had been trying to read the titles of the books on my bookcase.  Do you do that, too?  I do!

I thought I would show you them up close and tell you about them.

On this shelf I have a Dickens, Jane Austen, Grace Livingston Hill, Elizabeth Goudge, Gladys Taber, and Bess Streeter Aldrich.
 
From left - Emilie Barnes books, a few Thomas Kinkade, The Scottish Crown series by Carol Umberger, The River of Time series by Lisa Tawn Bergren (YA fiction but my girls and I all enjoyed this series), a few other fiction.  A set of the first 12 Beatrix Potter books (purchased at our library used book store for $2.00 for the set), a stack of Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs, and more GLH.
 
The third shelf has various homeschooling, Christian living and parenting books, by Sally Clarkson, Susan Schaeffer MaCauley, Edith Schaeffer, Elisabeth Elliot, Emilie Barnes. Some Victoria magazines, Clarice Fox-Hughes second book 'Wishes Are Like...", other various books, and then my books on herbs, food, and natural health.
 
 Some homeschool books, more magazines, and some random books both fiction and non fiction, including several by Karen Andreola.

This is only one of our bookcases.  What books are on your shelves?

Thoughts Of Home: Rearranging Furniture


We had quite a storm move through our area last night.  Our phones got an alert to move to shelter as there was a tornado in our area.  We headed quickly to the basement.  Turns out it was not near us but near to where my parents live.  Everyone is just fine, though there was quite a bit of damage around our county.

 Today, I wanted to share the rearrangement I did in our sitting room space in our master bedroom.






The armoir and the bookcase have changed places.  The couch used to be along the wall where the chair now is.

We only use the tv to stream movies from Amazon or Netflix, but it's nice to be able to see it better from the bed.  Last night we all watched a movie together and Sarah laid on the bed to watch.

I tried to find photos of the room before but our internet is not cooperating this morning.  

I love being able to rearrange and shop the house to make things feel fresh and new.  I just did this rearrangement yesterday, so I am still figuring out the artwork and photos for the walls.  

If you love your home and like to read posts about others who also love their homes, won't you join us for the Thoughts of Home link up?

 I'm having trouble linking up but will keep trying!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Cooking: Scrambled Eggs


It's one of the first things I teach my kids to cook.  Eggs used to have a bad rap, but now we know that eggs are good for you! Our hens lay beautiful eggs with rich yolks full of healthy Omega-3s.



Tim has an afternoon inspection today, so I took the opportunity to cook for him.

 Eggs from our hens 

 A bit of cream.  Read here if you are interested in what creamline milk is.

I added some ham that I cooked for dinner last night.

 I added a bit of cheddar cheese, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.



I made enough for the family, naturally, and with a downpour outside, its a nice way to start the day.


Monday, February 22, 2016

The Best Fudgy Brownies Ever!

Seriously.

My friend and mentor when I was a young woman gave me this recipe.  It is likely 30 years old!

 This is the sign of a great recipe!

I wrote out the recipe so you could read it and added my tips on making them.
 
The Best Fudgy Brownies Ever!


¾ cup good baking cocoa
1 cup (minus 1 TBS and 1 tsp) of coconut oil
2 cups of sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

1 ¼ cup of flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease a 9x13 pan.

Melt coconut oil and remove from heat. Add cocoa powder, stir until well mixed. Add sugar, mix well. Add eggs, and again mix well. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and mix well. Stir in nuts if using. Pour into the baking pan and cook for 30 minutes or until brownies start to pull away from the side of the pan. Do not over bake!!!


I melt my coconut oil on the stove in a pan and then mix everything else into it. If you used a bowl in the microwave you can do the same thing. I like that you don't have to use a bunch of pans or bowls.



Let me know if you make them!


  

Pantry Living: How I Spent Less Than $60 For Groceries This Week

When Tim started his business last August, we did not have lots of money in reserve, nor did we take out a loan.  He started his own business, in part, because we wanted margin both in finances and in time.  He was very busy all through the autumn and we socked away as much extra as we could.  

Work slowed through the winter, as we knew it would, and we tightened our spending to next to nothing.  God has provided for all we have needed; work just when we didn't know what we'd do, contacts for encouragement that also led to work.  He has taught us to trust Him in new ways this winter.  He is faithful.

One way He has provided for us is through something He lead me to do years ago and that is to have a pantry, to deepen it when I could and to use it.

Brenda  has been writing about pantry living for years.  I've learned a lot from how she buys extra as she can to deepen her pantry.  She also has shared links with others who stock their pantries.  The reasons people do this are many.  Some life on a limited budget, some want to be prepared for a crisis, some want to be as independent as possible.

For us, I felt the Lord nudging me to start to garden nearly 10 years ago, to teach the kids how to grow vegetables (also just to have the skill that they could do this and help their feed their families nutritious foods), and to freeze or can the extra.  That is when I started to build my pantry.

I learned to can foods in my missionary years, and that is when I learned to cook from scratch, making my own sauces, using spices to season food rather than buying a seasoning packet,  to make jams and jellies.  I wanted to pass those things along to my children.

The benefits of stocking a pantry are numerous -  it allows you to share with others, it allows for spontaneous hospitality, and it has allowed us to not spend much on groceries over the winter this year.

This past week, I had to use as little money as I possibly couldBecause of what I had in the freezer in meat, and bread, and because of the food in the pantry, and the fact that our hens are laying very well now, I was able to spend $33 at Aldi (mostly for fresh produce and cheeses) and $22 dollars at Target (where I find on plan items for my eating plan).  We are eating very well.

I was able to do this by stocking up meats, including lunch meat, canned items, pastas (which we don't eat very often), and ingredients to make food from scratch, when I had the extra funds.  During non lean months, I use part of my weekly budget for this, which allows me to take advantage of buying meat on sale such as the turkeys I bought at Target after Thanksgiving that were .79 a pound! We've also been gifted foods.  Right before Christmas our friends gave us a ham from their own pigs.  That is a wonderful gift!

 There are a few pantry blogs I read for inspiration - 

The Bluebirds Are Nesting

A Working Pantry 

 
I am thankful that I can be a help to the family in saving us money by taking advantage of sales, of cooking mostly from scratch, and from building our pantry.  My friend Brenda encourages do it bit by bit and just doing what you can. If you are able to buy one extra can of something your family likes and will eat, then do it. 


It's also a great way to stock up on gift items, such as specialty teas, chocolate, etc.  For example at Christmas time Aldi had wonderful cappuccino chocolate chips!  I'd never seen those before, and I was able to buy some.  These are a great gift for your coffee loving baking friends!

I hope you are encouraged by this post, that is might help you to get started.  Today, I am going to use our cash reward for Costco to stock up on toilet paper, meat, and some frozen veg.

Do you keep a pantry?  


I made these brownies for our fellowship meal yesterday with ingredients I had in my pantry.