Monday, September 25, 2017

Five Things I Love About Fall

Its warmer than I'd like for Fall, but it's going to cool down this week.  I love Fall so I thought I'd share some of my pins from my Autumn Pinterest board, and talk about five things I love.

I love going down roads with leaves on them.  I love it even more to drive under falling leaves!

New Hampshire

I love Fall road trips.  There is little I like more than a good Fall foliage trip!  I can't get enough of the changing trees!

The vibrant shades of New England's fall foliage are world renowned. Image by Mark Newman / Photostock / Getty

Our own property has a lot of beautiful trees on it.  I love to sit outside at this time of year and walk on our property.
If you've been around my blog for any length of time, you know I adore autumn.  It's truly my favorite time of the year.   I thought I'd ...

I love decorating our home and property with lights, pumpkins, and candles!
Embrace the beauty of nature this autumn season.

I love getting out the plaid wool blankets.  When the nights get cool, I love having them available to lay an extra layer on our beds.

Repinned: Keep calm and love autumn

I'm sure you know there will be more than FIVE things I love about autumn, and I'll be sharing those in the days to come!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fall Home Tour 2017

I've been enjoying several fall home blog tours, and so I thought I'd share my fall decor in our living room/kitchen space.

I have seasonal decor up over my kitchen cabinets, too, but that is hard to photograph.  If I get decent photos, I'll post them.

My pumpkin pillows are both from Christmas Tree Shops, but from last year.  My local store doesn't have as many as the online store has!  I also think I got my embroidered pillow on sale.  Amazon has a lot of great pillows/pillow covers, too!

The feather is from one of our chickens.  She kindly left it on our kitchen steps for me.  It fits in beautifully with our fall decor.

Tomorrow is the first official day of fall, but I'm sure you've decorated your home already, bringing in fall touches.  What is your favorite fall item you use in your home?  Mine are my glass pumpkins.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Book Launch:The Lifegiving Table

I am a part of Sally Clarkson's new book launch team for The Lifegiving Table.  This book is out on my birthday, October 3rd.

Sally has long been a kindred spirit even though we don't know each other.  We have shared interests in mentoring, discipleship, training and teaching our children, opening our homes and lives to others.

This book, which I've read a preview of, is my heart too.  We've used our 'table' to build relationships with our children, our families, friends, fellow workers, young people, old people and every age in between.  To share our faith, spread encouragement, help carry burdens.

Sometimes, it has been a full blown Thanksgiving meal with three tables set up.  Other times it has been coffee and dessert.  But all of it has been with the heart of welcome and care and "I want to know you better," or "come celebrate with us!"  

I had a friend say to me, "My heart is to do this but we don't have a nice big table, that I'd love to have!"  I told her it wasn't about the actual table.  It was about the heart of welcoming people into your home and the time spent together sharing a meal or snack or dessert.  She does this already!

I hope you will buy and read this book.  This using of the 'table' to reach other peoples lives, is one of those 'small deeds' we were talking about yesterday.  They have the potential to change lives, especially our own.  

Here is a link to Barnes and Nobel were you can order a signed copy of The Lifegiving Table,  and you can also find it on Amazon.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Small Deeds Of Ordinary Folk

My friend Karen, shared a meme with this on it today on FB.  The quote goes along with much of what I have been thinking about lately.

Many people are fearful of the times we are living in, and yet God placed us at this point in history.  He knew what the world would be like in 2017 and He placed us here with purpose.

When I feel overwhelmed by terrorism, or hurricanes, or (insert the blank) I can do several things: I can look to God who put me here at this point in history and ask Him to show me who He is in these situations, and I can do small deeds to reach out to others and hold the darkness at bay.

I can pack my husbands lunch, and read with my kids.  I can make dinner for those who may share my table from day to day.  I can be a thoughtful neighbor, and a listening friend.  I can encourage others.  I can blog, and I can share beauty on Instagram.  Most importantly I can pray.  You see, God didn't put us here and then leave us to figure it out on our own.  He's with us day by day, guiding, helping, encouraging us, so we can be His hands and feet in this world.  

Tolkien had it right.  Here is the full quote - 

“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."

What are somethings you do, to hold the darkness at bay?

Hospitality,Friendship, Encouragement

My blog subtitle after Creekside Cottage is Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement.  Those are our goals here at the cottage and as a family.

I called English Country dancing after lunch at church this afternoon.  We have a great bunch of young people who love to dance, and a few of the adults do, too!

Then we invited folks to our house to play games.  I have to say that by 5:00 on a Sunday most of us adults are tired, but the young people are just getting started.  

My job at these times are to order a lot of pizzas (today was 6 large pizzas for 19 people) and make sure there is something to drink.  I keep paper products stocked for just this kind of hospitality.

 This is the after.  One piece of pizza left.

The stack of games to choose from tonight.  They played Coup and Balderdash.  Oh, and Uno before the pizza arrived!

One of the Balderdash papers.

Rachel headed to bed early since she opens at work tomorrow, our (mine and Tim's) friends took their kids and a few others home, and Sarah is outside still chatting with a group of Joseph's siblings.

The house is quiet, and Tim has already headed to bed.  I'm waiting for Sarah to come in.

Hospitality can be tiring, but it is full of blessing to both the receiver and the giver.  It is a good thing, as Martha would say.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Hospitality:Hostessing The Parents Room At Co-Op

I know some of you saw one of these photos on Instagram and FB but I wanted to share a few more of our parents room at our co-op.  
We say parents room because Dad's are welcome, but we don't usually have any at our co-op days.

Part of my role as hostess is to talk to people and encourage them so I didn't get all the photos taken that I wanted to.  

 Cold drinks on a tray.  The humidity was high this day and the drinks containers had a lot of condensation on them.  Having the tray kept it from puddling on the counter.

This room is in the basement of the church we meet in and has no widows or fresh air source.  It gets a bit musty in this room, so I wanted to do something that would help the room smell nice.  We cannot burn candles so I turned to essential oils and a diffuser.

It changes colors but of course I caught it on white.  I diffused orange oil, cinnamon bark, and clove.  Very Autumn scented.

I brought a few of my dried hydrangea from home, for some prettiness.

We have a coffee pot, I brought a Keurig for decaf or flavored coffee, and we do have some cider and tea pods.  The electric kettles are for tea and hot cocoa.  Then of course are a variety of sweeteners, half and half and a coconut milk creamer for those who don't do dairy.

Down at the far end of the counter was the food.  I made our favorite cappuccino muffins, and some gluten free chocolate brownie cookies.  We made our homemade popcorn, cooked in coconut oil and salted only.  We brought pretzels, and some fresh veggies with a ranch dip.  One of the ladies brought tortilla chips and salsa.  

Of course I had seasonal plates and napkins.  

I met several of the new moms yesterday, helped answer questions, chatted with friends and encouraged a few people, I hope.

I get to do this for all 20 weeks of our co-op this school year, plus I'm hostessing our co-op Mom's Christmas party.  Can't wait for that!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Rachel is a cellist and really likes the group 2 Cellos.  These guys are really amazing, and we enjoy listening to them.

They were going to be in concert, and Rachel kept mentioning that she'd love to go.  I thought that maybe I could take her as part of a late birthday gift, but then I thought that maybe Tim could take her.

I get to spend lots of time with Rachel and we are going to see Rend Collective next month.  Tim works so hard and doesn't take much time off and I knew it would be very special for them to go together.

So they did.  

To say they had a good time would be an understatement.

Here is a video of 2Cellos playing Gabriel's Oboe from The Mission.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

I LOVE Happy Mail, and Surprises!

Yesterday was a fun day.  I ran some errands, took Rachel to an appointment (those wisdom teeth must come out!), had lunch with Rachel and my Mom.

Tuesdays are a family day, so my parents were here for dinner, just sloppy joes and leftovers.  Easy.

When Tim arrived home he brought the mail in and there was the new Trim Healthy Mama cookbook I had pre-ordered!  It is chock full of amazing looking recipes for the whole family!  And they have the basics of the plan down to one chapter!  I'm going to make the chocolate chip pancakes this morning!

Happy mail, indeed!

Then Lindsay came by with a surprise for me!  She had texted saying she bought me something that made her think of me, and she hoped I didn't have it yet!

I love when this happens!

Here is what she bought me.

I love them!  Aren't they the cutest?  There are eight of them total (2 of each pattern).  She bought them at Target.

They are 'so me' and they combine two favorite things - plaid and fall pumpkin decor!

Do you love Happy Mail?  By this I mean mail that contains something fun - like a card or gift.  Not bills and junk mail! 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hydrangea In Late Summer/Early Autumn

They are so lovely with their autumn color and I just can't stop admiring them!

They've really dried beautifully.

As the month has gone on they're still just perfect.

We were thankful to hear that our family and friends were all safe and their homes and vehicles were undamaged.  Some trees down and clean up needed but all the important things are just fine.  Thank you for your prayers.

Fun At The Scottish Festival And Remembering 9/11

As I mentioned on Saturday morning, we've been attending this festival for three years.  This festival has been going on for four years, but the first year, we were out of town.

We love coming to this festival every year.  Not only do we get to celebrate our Scottish heritage, but we get to help support the oldest Covenanter Prebyterian Church in North America.

My family lineage has a Scots Covenanter martyr, so we feel a connection to this historical place.

The festival (here's a link about it) has grown every year, and this year was no exception.  The thing I loved best this year was the new format for the festival.  Instead of off site parking and being bused over to the event, the parking was all onsite.  This made it easy to bring chairs to watch the Highland Games.  Also with every part of the festival closer together it made it easy to go from one event to the other, and not miss anything!

This was my favorite year so far!  A fun thing for us was that our friends were competing in the Games!  Here is a link to my friends blog with her great photos of the event!

Now for a few of my photos and some video -


Nate, Don, Will Westbrook and my dad Bob McElrath

 This darling family won everyone's hearts with their wee kilts!

All the competitors wore kilts!

This is to answer the question of what do men wear under their kilts.  

The weather was lovely and I was able to have my scarf on a good part of the day!  McDonald tartan as our family is a sept clan of McDonald.

Charlie Zahm is a wonderful entertainer and sells cds with him performing celtic music.  I enjoy listening every year.

Caber tossing

This one is harder to see but it's our friend tossing the caber.

 One of the last events was tossing a weight over the bar.  The young guys were tossing a 56 pound weight.  This is our friend Will.

Do you think he made it over the bar?

Watch the video to find out!

Many spectators and visitors to the festival wore kilts as well.

The group running the Games are called Penn's Wall.  There is a historical significance behind the name and its pretty cool.  You can read about it here.

I also want to acknowledge that it is 9/11.  Those of us who lived through that day and the days following will never forget it.  We are also praying for our family and friends in Florida.