Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Friday, June 29, 2007

Yesterday, after tea with a friend, I popped into our local Pottery Barn Outlet. Why, oh why is it that there is never "mad money" when their is a huge sale going on? sigh.
They are having forty percent off furniture, already at outlet prices, and fifty percent off of summer items, lighting, tableware etc....
Well, maybe next sale!

How many pieces of jewelry do you wear most days? Earrings, Watch, Wedding Rings, so 3.

What is your favorite instrumental song? Moonlight Sonata

Who has a last name that you like? Me - Rabe

Main Course:
Name a popular movie you’ve never seen. Titanic

Fill in the blank: Nothing makes me _joyful__________ like __my family__________.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

God Bless Your Home

God Bless Your Home

God bless your home
And all within,
The friends who come;
Your kith and kin;
Your shelt'ring roof,
Your homely fare,
Your place of rest,
Your toil and care.
Bless absent ones
And those you love,
And guard and guide
Them from above.
And grant that soon
Sweet peace will reign
In this and ev'ry land again.


This poem says alot. Our oldest one is going to be an absent one soon. He is moving out next week. We think this is good, on many levels, but our hearts are heavy, for reasons I won't go into. Pray for us as we all adjust to these changes, and for strengthened relationships and growth for us all.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Funny Stuff

Pray for Tina

My dear sweet niece in law's mom has been going through treatments for breast cancer. This has gone very well, but she is dealing with Lymphedoma (sorry if it is spelled incorrectly) which is severe swelling, and can be very dangerous.

Please pray with us that God will heal Tina completely and give her many more happy years with her family.

Movie Reviews

A few nights ago, the girls and I watched Miss Potter. It is an enjoyable movie. Beatrix Potter comes across as an odd lady in the beginning, seeing her characters coming to life and talking to them. When she starts to work with the young Mr. Warne, he so loves her work that she opens up to him. Her father is always supportive, her mother just thinks its a nice little hobby and wants to marry her off to someone who is "suitable". I love the scene where she "reminds" her mother that their money has come from her grandparents who made their fortunes in "trade". Her friendship turns to love, and she begins to make decisions that are in her own interests, and plans to go against her parents wishes. They come to an agreement, but her beloved dies and because the engagement was kept private, only her parents and his sister know, she must grieve privately, which she does to the concern of all. However, her fiance's sister encourages her to go on with her life and work. She decides that she wants to be non dependant on her parents, and finds out from the banker that she is very wealthy. Her father tells her mother at one point, "Our daughter is famous and you are the only one who doesn't know it". She goes on to buy a farm, and then several others, keeping the beautiful land in trust of the people of England.

Last night, we watched "Persuasion" by Jane Austen. This is an interesting movie. Anne Elliot has lost her true love because she followed the advice of a family friend, and rejected a marriage proposal. This was encouraged because the man had no fortune (at that time) and was a naval man. She spends the years in sadness and stops enjoying life. Her family, father and older sister at home, are wasters of the family fortune and yet think very highly of themselves and of improving their acquantances. They go to Bath, where their money will go further, and rent out their home to an Admiral and his wife, whose brother turns out to be the long lost love of Anne. Anne is left to close up the house and then goes to visit her married younger sister Mary. Mary is always negative about everything, feels slighted by everything and everyone etc...we find out later that Mary's in laws, had wanted Anne to marry their brother, but she refused him as well. This was also based on advice from the family friend. While visiting her sister, she meets up with her long lost love, who at first acts as if he hardly knows her, and won't speak with her. It must be said too, that everyone depends upon Anne, and tends to put upon her. When the group is visiting Lyme, an accident happens to one of Mary's sister in laws, and shortly after Anne goes on to Bath. It is assumed that Anne's long lost love, now Captain Frederick Wentworth, is going to marry the sister in law. While at Bath there is some intrigue, with a young Mr. Elliott, who wants to marry Anne for her father's title. But it is here in Bath that Captain Wentworth shows up and Anne finds out that the sister in law is going to marry a different man. This gives Anne hope, but when they are in each others' company, they are always interupted before they can speak what is on their hearts. They finally are able to let each other know that they still love one another, always have, and at a party Anne's family is giving, young Mr. Elliott is trying to get Anne to say she will marry him, when Captain Wentworth comes in and announces that he and Anne are going to marry. The last scene shows her on board her husbands ship. You feel very happy for them both.

I think I liked "Persuasion" better than Miss Potter. I liked that Anne showed an ability to grow, and improve, while still trying to honor her family. I felt like the Beatrix Potter character was determined to go her own way regardless of her family.

But I would recommend them both highly. I love these period movies where we in our modern culture view life through the lens of the culture and society of a different time.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Here at the cottage we are committed to hospitality. We do not practice it as we should, but we do enjoy it.

My husband loves to have people over and has asked that we do this as much as possible. So Saturday, we had a couple over that both work with him. They do not have children living at home any longer, so we wondered whether our kids would seem too chaotic for them, however this was not the case.
We all had a delightful time, the wife even had a ride on our horse! Our youngest girl, is very outgoing and I think she made it her special responsibility to make sure the wife was entertained. She talked to her and showed her everything, gave her kitties to hold...
When planning my menu for the evening, I wondered if I should plan something fancy or more simple. I decided I would make something that I had made many times, but is unusual and delicious. This way, I wouldn't be stressing over the food.
Here is what I served:
Kedougou Chicken (poulet yassa)
Sweet Corn (off the cob)
French Bread
Homemade Ice Cream
The Kedougou Chicken recipe comes from Senegal West Africa where my husband grew up. His parents were missionaries there and his sister got this recipe from a woman who had a restaurant in the small town of Kedougou. His sister lived there when she and her family were serving as missionaries there. I don't have the exact amounts for everything anymore, as I have made this recipe so many times.
Here are the directions:
Make a marinade of vinegar, dijon mustard, oil, garlic, beef boullion, salt, pepper and sliced onions. Place chicken in marinade for at least 1 hour.
Remove the onions and sautee them in a small amount of oil, add chicken to brown it, the pour in the marinade. Turn the temp down place a tight fitting lid on pan and cook 1 hour.
You serve this over rice, I use long grain brown rice.
This dish is delicious and our guests loved it!
I was very proud of our children as well, who did not demand all the attention, participated in the conversation at the table, were polite and respectful. The girls, with out being told, cleared the table and cleaned up, quietly and efficiently. The weather was lovely, so we sat out on the deck until dark.
We definately need to do this more often!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday's Feast

Name a funny habit you have. Getting loud when speaking. In our family we say it is the Todoroff coming out! (that is my grandmother's family)

If you could instantly know how to play a musical instrument, which one would you pick? The Violin
How long is your hair? Above the shoulder
Main Course:
When was the last time you forgave someone, and who was it? Last night - my husband
What is your favorite kitchen appliance? Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What do you think?

I inherited this hutch that used to belong to my great grandmother. It is probably from the 20's or 30's, and I think it was mass produced. My great grandmother went to California with her family as a young girl, in a covered wagon, from Kansas. They settled in Coronado, near San Diego. She married my great grandfather who worked as an chiropractor and was for a long time the post master. She always had things very nice. Her home in San Diego was a delightful place. Sadly it is not in the family anymore.
This hutch has water damage to the veneer on several places on the front, which is why I usually have this battenburg tablecloth draped over it, as shown in the second picture.

This is usually how it looks, hiding the water damage.
I am wondering whether I should paint it. My parents were in Michigan last week and were in a cottage store and saw a hutch very similar that had been painted. I have been considering this for years but didn't want to if it were valuable. I think it mostly has just sentimental value. I would probably paint it white, as that goes with everything and I love white painted furniture, but then I could be bold and paint it red! That would really stand out and look smashing, but if I got tired of the red (gasp!) it would have to be repainted, which of course is no big deal.

So what do you think?

Scenes from My Bedroom

One of my favorite spots in my cottage is my bedroom. This is where I go to read, sew, pile on the bed to watch movies with my girls, hang out with my hubby. This room used to be the master bedroom before the previous owners added on an enormous master suite. We had that room and our four girls were in this room with two sets of bunkbeds until we took mercy on them and gave them the huge bedroom.
This room has plenty of space for us and it could hold a much bigger bed, but we really like our bed, it is soooo comfortable, so we stay with this full size. The bedding is a Waverly pattern that I purchased at Target last year. It allows me to have a bit of floral with out being too "girlie" for my husband. The red sheets were purchased from KMart, a Martha Stewart set, and the dust ruffle I found at Wally World. The walls are not quite this color, it is a Dutch Boy color called "glazed tile".

This lamp was purchased at Target. I love it. The base is from Shabby Chic by Rachel Ashwell, and the lamp shade is a beautiful deep red with tone on tone embroidery and beads.
In front of my windows which overlooks the back yard, creek, and horse pasture, sits my writing desk. It used to be dark brown and boring. I painted it this weekend and I like the way it looks. On the top of it is my sewing box, sewing machine, and "inbox". The wall color is more true in this picture.

This is the bookcase next to my bed. Look how washed out the wall looks here! wow. I love the black wooden plate, my little white bird, and red candle holder/vase. I also have a string of white lights strung through the garland for evening ambiance.

This little set belonged to my Grandmother. It has 4 cups and luncheon plates that match. I don't know how long she owned it, I know that I used to play with them at her home when I was a young girl. She gave them to me years ago. I treasure them for the memories and that they were hers.

Many of the furniture items we have in our home were purchased at yard sales, or found free. A coat of paint does wonders for old items. It allows us to have the look we want and yet to live on one income. Besides is it so fun, to find something, see it's potential and make it work in our cottage.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Newsy Post

Well, my girlie is home. She had a wonderful time. It is a joy to hear of how kind, helpful, and cheerful she was on her trip. My dad said "she did you proud". She is a delightful young lady, and all the relatives want to keep her.

We went out to my parents house to swim in the afternoon, and to be there when they arrived home. I stopped at an Amish produce stand and bought cantalope and tomatoes! Delightful! Mrs. Fisher said that just like with the strawberries, the heat is making everything ripen fast!

We got home after 9:00 and about an hour later our power went out. That is unusual for us. I called my mom and she said their power was out as well! That is even more unusual as we live 20 minutes away from each other. It turns out that a substation transformer blew and power was out to a huge portion of the southern part of our county. As it was bedtime, it was not a big deal although we were missing our air conditioning! Our power stayed out for about 1 hour. Ahhhh, we slept well. When I called my parents there power was still out, so we invited them here, but they were tired and decided just to sleep in their own beds. Their power came back on this morning around 5:00 am.

Today, the girls have ridden our horse Sandi already, as it is going to be hot and humid.

Here is Sandi with her fly mask on. Doesn't she look funny? What you can't tell in this picture is that the ears are covered as well. Sort of like Batman! She is 18 years old and is a sorrel quarter horse. She is a very nice horse.

I need to get some co-op paperwork done today. I the leader of a homeschool support group that meets for 20 weeks - 2 ten week semesters - that runs from preschool -12th grade. It is parent taught classes, sports, choir, field trips, mom's nights. We usually run at 60 families. We are in need of updating some of our forms, we are trying to streamline the paperwork!

I am trying to think of something easy and light for dinner. Any suggestions?

Monday, June 18, 2007


My dear Emily has been on a trip to Michigan with her grandparents. She has had a week of fun, meeting great aunts and uncles, many cousins, seeing new places.

Today she comes home. Hurray! We have missed her.

Happy Belated Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to my dad, my husband and my brother! These three men are terrific dads. They weren't born good father's, nor have they always been good at fathering their children. However, they all allowed themselves to be changed and to grow in godliness. They are all better father's today than they were when they first became dads.
I am so thankful for each of them. I love you.

My dad and brother.
My beloved and youngest son.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Saturday Fun

My husband is working today - 12 hours - so I thought I would try my hand at some projects that have been rolling around in my mind.

One is a desk I have. It is a dark brown stain and I would like to sand it and paint it a creamy white.

Also, I love all those neat signs you see everywhere, such as these:

so I thought I would try to paint some. It will be fun to try out, as long as Kyle co-operates!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday's Feast

Fill in the blank: The best thing about where I live is : my family and all the historical locations!
Create a new name for a deodorant: Cottage Garden
What was the last piece of software you installed onto your computer? Stop Motion software for my daughters' movie making program.
Main Course:
If you were to receive a superlative award today beginning with the words ”Most likely to…”, what would the rest of the phrase say? be grocery shopping! But would rather read or blog!
What two colors do you like to wear together? This summer denim and bright colors.
What about you?

Summer Reading

With so much talk on the blogosphere about summer reading, I have decided to post what I have been reading this summer, so far, and what I am planning to read.

First off I have to say that I am the kind of person who has several books going at one time. Different kinds of books; fiction, education, women's topics. Also I read books that I intend to have my older kids read that deal with life issues, such as dating, purity etc...

So here is my summer reading list.

Books I have read:
The Firstborn Series by Karen Kingsbury
Fame, Forgiven, Found, Family, Forever (Just finishing)

Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson

Books I intend to read:
Finish reread of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Sunrise by Karen Kingsbury

Parenting from the Heart by Marilyn Boyer

Beautiful in God's Eyes by Elizabeth George

Books to read with my girls:
The Divine Dance by Shannon Kubiak Primicerio

Before you Meet Prince Charming by Sarah Malley

We also take weekly trips to the library, so anything that catches my eye will be read as well. And many books to my almost 5 year old and my almost 2 year old!

I would love to hear about what you are reading and what you like or don't like about it, how it has challenged your thinking etc...

Pick up a book and read!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Longwood Gardens

Tuesday, I took my children to Longwood Gardens. This is a beatiful place. There are lots of walking paths and so much to look at all times of the year.

Here is a beautiful gazebo by a pond.

This is one of my favorite spots at Longwood - The Italian Water Garden. It is laid out in very symetrically and is such a calming view. I really could sit there for hours.

While there, a huge thunderstorm kicked up and we had to hurry to the conservatory. This is a photo of two different kinds of orchids, in the orchid room.

This is the Century plant. This is located in the silver garden. It has all desert plants, in silver, grey and white hues. This plant was normal size in May, then the flower "bud" took off! It has grown so large that they had to take a glass panel out of the ceiling. This is it in flower. Here is a picture of the younger children enjoying what Sarah called the "beaver house". This is a structure in the vegetable garden. This will be covered with vines this summer.

I will post more about our day there, soon. I have company coming this morning, a friend I haven't spent time with in a long time!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Off to Longwood Gardens

The weather being so lovely today, we are headed to Longwood Gardens. It is an estate that belonged to Pierre duPont. We always love to walk around and see the "eye of water", the beautiful fountains, the flowers in bloom (of course), the conservatories with orchids, roses etc...the have a wonderful children's garden there, as well as an idea garden. Well, it is just heavenly. They also have a century plant that is ready to bloom! We just have to go see it!

Here is a link to their website:

I will post pictures of our time there.

Garden Delights

Here are some pictures of my flowers.

These are a small white daisy flower. They grow with fern like leaves. They were given to me by friends, and I am thinking that they are a wildflower, as I have some near our horse pasture, and I didn't plant them! They are sweet though, and bloom for a long time. They are great to cut and use in arrangements or by themselves in a canning jar.

This is a picture of my Black-Eyed Susan vine. Isn't it cute? I saw one at my sister-in-laws home last summer and had to have one. They are an annual here, so I am hoping it grows really big this summer, so I can enjoy it on my picket fence!

Here is a bit of lavendar that I transplanted. It was being overgrown in its' previous spot. I love the scent!

I bought these daylilies last year for $1.00 a plant at an Amish store! They have grown so well. This one is by my deck stairs and my pink climbing rose.

Here is my pink climbing rose. You can see the various stages of the roses. I definately need to deadhead! This rose just keeps blooming and blooming! It is covered with buds!
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my garden. Soon the purple coneflower and black-eyed susans and my shasta daisies will be blooming. Oh, my butterfly bushes as well!!! I love summer!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Redecorating the Blog

Remember last month when I said I was going to be making some changes to the blog? Well, I am finally in the midst of it. My talented sister in law, Miss Paula, at Gathering of Friends, made this beautiful header for me. She is designing a few more and I will be trying them out.

I love this one, she used a picture I sent her and she also used words from my very first post of what I wanted my blog to be about.

What do you think?

Chloe and Charlie

Our cat Chloe is weaning her kittens. She rarely nurses them. This morning they were pestering her, and she kept moving so they couldn't nurse. A few minutes later and I see her on the back of the couch, with Charlie hanging off the side of the couch and nursing. It was quite a sight! She as you may be able to tell, was not all that pleased. Her tail kept swishing back and forth impatiently. The kittens will be 8 weeks tomorrow. They eat food, drink water and are litter trained. They are ready to go to a good home.
Kittens anyone?

My Old Ladder

For sometime I have been looking for an old wooden ladder. I found one already painted white, with some age showing, at an antique place for $12.50! I had to buy it. My original idea was to hang it from the ceiling over my counter, and put ivy and lights on it. I may still do that, but I have a great shelf that it might block, if I hang it there. Meanwhile, I decided to use it in my bedroom as a magazine holder. I really like it alot! So, maybe I need to find another old ladder to hang over my counter!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Strawberry Jam

It has been so hot here that strawberry season is almost over! The Amish woman at Fisher's Produce stand said that the heat is making them ripen fast. So today I stopped on the way home from my brunch group (which was terrific, by the way) and bought 4 more quarts. They along with the two I purchased yesterday were made into lovely delicious jam! I got 1 quart sized jar and 12 half pints! I love to give away homemade things for gifts, so I did lots of the half pints.
Enjoy your Sunday!

Where has the week gone?

Do you realize it is the end of the week already??? Yikes!

Tomorrow I am going to a brunch group with our church ladies. We signed up to go and bring something, I am bringing orange juice. Then we meet at the church and the gal in charge tells us whose home we are going to! It is going to be so much fun! I think we have 3 groups. I don't know who will be in my group, but I know we will all enjoy it!

We went swimming after dinner at "Camp Geezer". That is what my dad calls their place. They have the swimming pool, big screen tv etc...A few years ago we even came up with a theme song. I will have to see if I still remember it and write it out for you. Our little guys loved the water! Not a bit afraid. We use real life vests for our non-swimmers. It allows them to float and to use their arms normally! Afterwards he climbed the pool stairs and took a tumble down them! It was a panic moment for us! But other than some scrapes, he was just fine!

I popped into a tea shop today. It was lovely. They have a bit of a store too. It is run by lovely, friendly british women. They were getting ready for a group to come. One lovely woman talked tea with Emily and I for a while and then gave her some british candies. In the C.S. Lewis book "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe", Edmund asks the White Witch for some Turkish Delight. Well, let me tell you, it is yucky stuff. Sort of like gummy bear in the middle with powdered sugar....the dear woman at the tea shop said that they say that Turkish Delight is for older people, "cause its easy on the teeth." ha ha ha. The chocolate flake is good, and the Maltesies too.

Ok, I guess I should sign off for now. Can you tell I am tired?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Happy Wednesday!

I have been so busy today!

We planted sunflower seeds by our propane tank, we set up the tent to clean it out, I push mowed along our creek.

We still need to go to the library and to an Amish hardware store for pasture seed.

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Red Work Stitchery

My sister in law has inspired me with her stitchery. So the other night, I gave it a go. I used a white pillowcase, and put the hoop on it and free handed this saying, that I have seen on signs everywhere!
I like the way it turned out. I think I want to cut it out and make it into a smaller decorative pillow.
There is definately room for improvement, but it was fun.

Peonies and Tea Cups

Here are some peonies from my garden. I adore them! The tea cup on the dresser and the matching teapot are a Royal Dalton pattern called "Celebrations". I recently found them at my local Royal Dalton outlet store at 50% off!
This pattern is special to me. This is the wedding china pattern of a dear friends mother. We used to all have tea together, not with this china, but at Cracker Barrel on Sunday nights. Pauleen, Brenda, Donna and I would go out without our young children, or husbands, and drink tea (Darjeeling) and eat chocolate cobbler. I always loved Donna's wedding china and the girls and I would tease over who would "inherit" her china.
So when I found this pattern on the tea cup and tea pot, I treated myself. It brings back special memories, of these lovely women and their friendship to me.

Maybe one day we can have a visit together and have a real tea party! Please come visit girls! I miss you!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Returning Home

My sweetheart is coming home today! He left a week ago to do relief work in New Orleans. We are very excited. My youngest daughter said last night "I miss Daddy so much, I can't stop thinking about him." So sweet.

I will try to post some photos this week of his trip.

Oh, last night I tried my hand a redwork embroidery while my girls and I were watching the new version of Pride and Prejudice. It turned out so nice. I will post a picture soon!

I love learning new things.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Birthday Party Pictures

My sweet Rachel had such a fabulous day yesterday! She had two friends over, received a call from her favorite cousin, her daddy called.

She is horse crazy, naturally, so she had a horse theme party.

She decorated the gift bags for her friends. I got pencil cases that matched her party theme, and then they also got a bit of candy. It was very inexpensive.

They got a chance to ride Sandy, our horse.

Here is the birthday girl with her friend Amanda.

Birthday happiness!
We are thankful to God for His wonderful gift!


  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We spent Saturday, doing things around the house, and then we swam. Kyle and Sarah left after that...