Friday, July 10, 2020

Friday Five: Garden Edition

My garden is in need of weeding, mulch, and deadheading.  However, there is still beauty to see and I am going to share it with you today.

1. Echinacea - It's thriving in the garden.  I can't wait until the autumn when the finches visit the garden to eat the seed heads of these flowers.

2. Hollyhock - Still going strong in the garden.  We haven't had a lot of rain but the rain we have had have been torrential downpours.  I may need to stake these flowers.

3. Daylily - The color is more vibrant in person.  

4. Larkspur - Years ago Rachel scattered some seeds she had and every year they self seed. Such a pretty flower.

5. Annabelle Hydrangea - Some are laying down because of heavy rain the other day, but most are upright.  This bush is big in the corner of the Cottage Garden and on the right you can see some peony leaves.

I hope you are all finding a way to thrive in the midst of the craziness.  Or maybe its just crazy here in Pennsylvania.  Sigh...

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Home Keeping: A New Refrigerator

Tim was home yesterday and was able to have a good look at our fridge.  He talked to my dad (who used to have his own refrigeration repair business) about what the issues could be.  They spoke about the age of our fridge, and what might be needed.

We are the kind of people who like to get the full use out of something we buy.  We had our fridge for over 15 years and had done many repairs on it.

I already knew the style I wanted if/when our old one finally wasn't worth fixing again.  I love the french doors on the fridge and the large freezer drawer.

We have a scratch and dent appliance store just down the road from where we live.  We can't find a scratch or dent on this fridge but the price was excellent.

Today we'll be bringing up meat, frozen veggies, and frozen fruit from our bigger freezer downstairs.  Thankfully we had room in that freezer since we are splitting a side of locally raised beef with my parents and Lindsay and Joseph. Once I move the regularly used items upstairs into the freezer in the fridge, we'll have room for our beef.

I'm grateful to be able to have this new refrigerator, and that we were able to pay cash for it.  We're hoping we can get as many good years of service from this fridge as we did from the last one.  Also with the uncertainty of the times, I'm thankful to not have debt.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Isn't Life "Grand?"

We had a lovely extended weekend.  It was really 'grand.'

Hope your weekend was full of good things.  Our refrigerator stopped working Thursday, and thankfully we had a dorm size fridge and a full freezer, so we moved everything to those, and Tim and I still were able to leave on Friday.  Now we have to see if we can repair this one (its about 16 years old) or if we should just buy a new one.  I looked this morning on a local website for a scratch and dent place and there are some nice fridges, so we'll see.

Tim is busy and I want to have this dealt with quickly, especially in this heat.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Skin Care Over Fifty

I have always taken good care of my skin.  I never go to sleep with makeup on, and I try to use good, affordable products.  For many years now I also moisturize; my face especially. 

I've shared before that I use Aldi's brand of face care products.  We've been limited to the hydrating facial cleanser, and the day and night creams, until recently.

Image result for lacura facial cleanser

Image result for lacura face cream

The cleansing exfoliating scrub and foaming gel cleanser have recently become available and I've been using them.  All the Lacura products work well on my skin and are not harsh.

Lacura Cleansing Exfoliating Scrub + Lacura Foaming Gel Cleanser ...

I'm a pretty basic girl when it comes to skin care, I've not used any of the acid products available.  I think it's because I don't really know what is safe for my skin and what could be problematic.

As you can see from the photo from last week, I'm freckled.  However, I am starting to get some age spots (I'm 56) and am using frankincense added to my moisturizer every day.  This has helped some but I guess I am curious now about other products on the market for aging skin.

I'd be interested in hearing just what you use on your skin.  Any must use products?  Testimonials?  I'd love to chat in the comments!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020


There have  been years in our culture when being a homemaker was seen as 'less than.' It just wasn't exciting like working outside the home.  Much of that attitude came from those who bought into the idea that being a homemaker was a drudgery, and of no real value.

I've been a homemaker for most of my adult life, along with homeschooling all of our six children.  I'm in the last years of that 'career,' but I'll never stop being a 'maker of my home.'

Everyone has the power to be a homemaker.(I'm not saying that a homemaker is one who is home full time without a job.)  It just takes seeing the importance of the work of making a home.  Long before I married at age 24, I was homemaking in the space I called my own, my bedroom.

As a young girl, I was always rearranging my furniture in that small 10x10 bedroom.  I always loved the way it felt to make a space feel new and refreshed, and I still do!

I realized as a young married woman that I had power to set the tone in my home.  Were we going to live in peace or chaos?  I came to despise clutter, waging a war on it for many years.  I feel more peaceful when things are tidy - beds made, floors and rugs swept and vacuumed.

I am not obsessive - with six kids that was impossible - but I found a routine that worked for me, actually two routines.  First when I had a lot of littles, I had a daily jobs list for every day except for Sunday.

I'd written the jobs for each day on an index card, so on Monday I'd pull the card out and see that the jobs for that day were to vacuum, dust, tidy the play area in the basement.  So each person, including me got a job to do and we did it all at the same time, so that within a half hour all the chores for that day were done.  It brought tidiness and organization to our lives in busy years.

These days, I clean as I go.  The kitchen gets cleaned every day, counters wiped, the sink clean, dishes either drying on the mat on the counter or in the dishwasher.  My bathrooms are tidied every day.  I wipe down the counters, dust the back of the toilet.  Once a week or as needed, I clean the toilet.  I've found taking just a few minutes everyday makes a huge difference in the cleanliness of my home.  These routines, or ways of cleaning in my home, have worked well for me over the years.

I love bringing coziness and warm to our home in my own style.  I'm a firm believer in not copying other peoples style and to find what makes you feel at 'home.'

I'll be talking more about this in the weeks to come.  It's a huge passion of mine, and I believe that with all this fear around the coronavirus, more people are spending tons of time at home and looking for ways to be happy in their homes.

How about you?  Have you enjoyed being a homemaker?  What is your favorite thing about homemaking?

Monday, June 29, 2020

Monday Encouragement

Taken yesterday early evening after a thunderstorm.

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:1-4

This verse was a part of our pastor's message yesterday.  It was not his main focus, but the Lord used it to get my focus back on the important things. 

I also was rebuked by this part of scripture because friends, I have not been praying for my Governor, or those in power in the federal government. I've emailed their offices, but I haven't prayed for them.

The world has always been locked in a battle of good vs evil. We've talked about that recently and we recognize how evil no longer is trying to hide itself. I'm praying that people will be awakened out of their slumber.  I know I've needed to be awakened to where I can focus my attention and it will really make a difference. (prayer)

The pastor's sermon was actually on Psalm 11.  These were his main points.

When the foundation cracks:

1. We need not flee.
2. We need not fear.
3. We need not fret.
4. The Lord is on his throne.
5. The Lord is paying attention.
6. The Lord will bring judgement.
7. The Lord loves justice.

Psalm 11

In the Lord I take refuge;
how can you say to my soul,
    “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
for behold, the wicked bend the bow;
    they have fitted their arrow to the string
    to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
if the foundations are destroyed,
    what can the righteous do?”[a]

The Lord is in his holy temple;
    the Lord's throne is in heaven;
    his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
The Lord tests the righteous,
    but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked;
    fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
    the upright shall behold his face.

I hope these words bring you encouragement, too.  Our world is facing many dark things, but we don't need to fear.  He is our refuge.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Friday Five

Welcome to my Five on the last Friday of June!

Today it is flowers and a selfie.

1. Hydrangea from my endless summer hydrangea.  I'm loving this continually blooming hydrangea.  

2. Hydrangea make even the bathroom look elegant!

3. My garden has been loving the heat and humidity.

4. Hollyhock 'Nigra' is stunning, as usual!

5.  Selfie

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  I'm glad we are back to church (in person) these days.  I have had far to little interaction with friends since early May.  I have my people here but I still get lonely.

The real struggle in the world of good vs evil is apparent these days like never before, that I remember anyway.  I find I must really monitor my intake of news, and pray to keep my heart focused on truth and on these things - 

"whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" Philippians 4:8

Then "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

I'm Looking For New Recipes For Chicken

I'm bored with all the ways I cook chicken so I'd love it if you would share your favorite recipes with me!  It can be for grilled, oven baked, cooked on the stove.  


I look forward to reading your recipes and following links!

Grilled Chicken Salad - BRIANNAS Salad Dressings

Baked Lemon Chicken Recipe | Food Network Kitchen | Food Network

23 Grilled Chicken Recipes to Make This Summer | Bon App├ętit

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

With The Solstice Came The Heat (Embracing Summer)

With our mild winter, our mild, then cold spring, I wondered whether summer would be hot.  A few days in and I can say that so far it is!

With the heat has come humidity, too, and those of us at home, or who work indoors, have air conditioning but those who work outdoors are feeling it.

Tim works outdoors.  He is already tan, and he is in the season of taking an extra shirt to change into.  When you are meeting home owners or the buyers of a property, you don't want to be stinky.  Thankfully, he fixed the air conditioning in his work vehicle, that had been out for a few years, and he is loving it.

Summer, has never been my favorite season, except when I was a kid.  The last few years I've come to appreciate summer in ways I never have before.  I think mostly because of my garden.

If there was no summer, there would be no hydrangea, few roses, no echinacea, no zinnia, no daylilies, no morning glories, no tomatoes, or strawberries.  No peaches, no sweet corn.

You get the idea. 

Also no fireflies!

I like to sit outside in the evenings in the summer, and look at the sky, don't you?  I love to watch the movement of the stars and planets.  Look for satellites. Drink iced tea, and talk.

My parents pool had to be taken down last fall, and they waited to buy a new one, but then Covid hit and along with every chick in the country being purchased, every pool was too!  They can't find one in the size they want.  We are hoping that one will be available, because playing in the pool is fun, and hot, humid evenings in a pool is the best!

Due to Covid there are some changes to our normal summer schedule but not too much.  We don't often vacation in the summer, because as homeschoolers we can go on vacations after the summer 'season' and still enjoy warm weather, but often prices are half of what they are in the summer.  I'm looking forward to spending time in person with friends, eating outside, going to tea.  

Life changes big time in the autumn this year as Sarah will start studies at a small bible school in South Carolina, in September, so we are embracing summer and making memories!

What about you? Are you embracing summer?

Monday, June 22, 2020

It Was Just Like A Normal Weekend!

We were invited to a drop in graduation party for a sweet friend on Saturday.  It was so fun to sit and chat with friends, and celebrate the grad!

We hosted a Father's Day lunch at our house on Sunday.  Emma could be here but all the other kids were.  This is a screen shot of Emma from a video message she sent!  She just had a baby 10 days ago!

Everyone was in and out of the house.  It was humid and hot yesterday so people came in to cool off, and to play games on phones.

The newest coffee rage among the family coffee drinkers is the Aeropress method of making coffee.  Sarah is making it and Tim is getting my Dad a Keurig made cup of coffee.

Joseph is the family IT man.  He was helping Tim with a few business related computer stuff.

The newlyweds...

Kyle likes to do things and see how long it takes everyone to notice!  Funny!

I didn't get a photo of my dad, mom, or Lindsay.  Some people don't like their photo taken, and some were busy doing stuff all afternoon! It really was a good day!

I hope you had a nice weekend.  Summer arrived on Saturday and the temps for the upcoming week and beyond show it!  Hot and humid!  I'm grateful for air conditioning!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Photo Friday: Editing And Angles

It's fascinating to see how small adjustments to an angle or a bit of editing can change a photo.

Here is a photo I took of my hydrangea in a vase in my living room this morning.  It's grey and over cast so the lighting is poor.  The flowers look pretty but it's not the best photo.

So I played with the editing on my phone and got a much more interesting photo.  The color is richer, and so is the over all tone of the photo.

In this photo of some feverfew in an enamel pitcher, it is the angle that has changed.

I lifted my phone to get a different angle on the flowers and it changed the perspective of the kitchen.

In my second photo you see clean dishes on the counter waiting to be put away, peaches in a bag that need to be washed.  In the first photo you don't really see that angle.

I don't mind either angle because the kitchen is where life is happening and it is rare that there is nothing on the counters.  It is a working kitchen, after all.  I like the way the feverfew looks in the enamel pitcher in the kitchen.  Simple and homey.

Do you ever play around with editing or angles when you are taking photos?  

It's been a busy week here.  Tim has been incredibly busy with inspections.  I'm looking forward to the weekend.  We're going to a graduation party tomorrow afternoon, then we have church on Sunday.  Outside under the trees at our church property.  

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Video Tour Of My Cottage Garden

I made a quick tour of my cottage garden.   Someone mentioned to me on Instagram that they'd LOVE to see my garden because I show so many beautiful peonies and roses from my garden. They assumed I had an amazing garden.

I really don't.  Master gardeners would cringe to see my weeds, and non organized garden.  I love it though.  I love that I can cut flowers from my garden and bring them indoors.  I love sitting in my garden and reading.  Sarah will often sit out on the steps and read and journal.

This is why I garden.

I don't have the ability to easily weed anymore, but with some help I can manage this beautiful space.

I want to encourage you that you can make a space for beauty, too.  Roses can be grown in pots, so can hydrangea.  You could create a garden on a patio, or a deck or a balcony.  You don't have to have a large space, and lots of time and energy.  Do what you can.

I'm inspired by Angela Reed at Parisienne Farmgirl and her potager garden.  My back won't allow me to do that big of a garden, but I can do what I can do.  Our hearts for beauty and caring for our homes and family are the same.  You can find her youtube channel {here.}

The first person who inspired me for gardening was Emilie Barnes.  I already had a heart for homemaking and keeping and when I went to one of her seminars I found a kindred spirit!

She died several years ago, but her heart for her home lives on in her many books which you can find through online booksellers.  I highly recommend them for inspiration.

The key to inspiration for me, is to see creativity in what someone is doing and adapt it for my tastes and my interests.  I love to be inspired!

I hope my small cottage garden inspires you.  A garden doesn't have to be perfect, weed free, or beautifully designed to give you joy and the ability to have fresh cut flowers in your home!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

June Birthdays

In our family May has always been the big birthday month.  My parents both are May, Nate and Rachel are May birthdays, a couple of nieces are May birthdays, too.

Then October caught up with my, Kayleigh, my brother in law, and mother in law's birthdays, then Isla and Klaire (granddaughters born a day apart) were both born in October.

But recently June has come on strong.  It's always been my younger brother's birth month, a sister in law and a niece, but then our kids started to have kids.

10 years old yesterday!

Clark is two!

Kaidence is one!

Von is 4 days old!

Yesterday was Kamryn's birthday, and since Nate was home and could stay with the baby, Kayleigh took Kam, and Klaire fishing.  A few hours later they pulled into our driveway, around the time that Lindsay came by with my parents.  They were headed up to Nate and Kay's to give Kamryn her birthday gifts. Rachel called and was going to drop something off, so she stayed and Wes came over after he got off of work.

June is also Weston's birthday month!

Our other birthday boy, Wes.  

Long story short, we all ended up under the tree in the front yard for cake and presents, and then we got pizza, and spent the first real time relaxed family time together since the lockdowns started in March.

It was really fun, and my mom texted later to say how much she enjoyed it and how much she and my dad had missed being together with everyone.

I'm thankful for the spontaneous gathering, too.

Friday Five: Garden Edition

My garden is in need of weeding, mulch, and deadheading.  However, there is still beauty to see and I am going to share it with you today. 1...