Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Best Lasagna. Ever.

I know that I don't often share recipes with you, or even talk about what I make for meals. But....well, I was looking to cook something new, and a blog friend mentioned that she had made the Pioneer Woman's lasagna recipe and it was great, etc, so I had to try it! I have to say it was wonderful!

I made a few changes to the recipe, I used "bold" flavored sausage instead of "hot", and I used shredded parmesan cheese, instead of the "canned" kind. I did this because it's what I had on hand. Oh, and I also used organic whole wheat lasagna noodles. There, that's was all the changes I made.

You can find the recipe here. Thanks, Ree.


I decided to give my roses a new inspection for aphids yesterday and indeed I did have them on my roses and my hibiscus. (did you know that roses and hibiscus are in the same "family?")

I got online right away to research how to rid my plants of them in a non-toxic way.

I found this formula:

1 cup of cooking oil

1 TBSP dishwashing liquid

Mix together. In a spray bottle, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil/soap solution for every cup of warm water.

I went out and sprayed my plants, immediately. I will continue to do this, until I am aphid free.

My roses are stunning this year and are full of flowers and buds. I am not going to let some little pest eat away at them!

I am an official aphid huntress! I despise those little bugs....

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Invisible Woman

Creekside Gardens

My garden is growing so beautifully this year that I wanted to share some pictures with you.

These are my glorious peonies - I do not know the name of them, but they are beautiful and smell like old fashioned roses.

These are one of my Irises. They are so huge. I have separated over and over again. This is inside my picket fencing in front of our cottage. You can barely see my birdbath, tucked in among the feverfew. I think I need a new place for it!

These dianthus are new to my garden this year. I have found that they will last for several years and then tend to die out, so I bought some more.

This is one of the places I transplanted Irises. They are thriving in my gardens.

When we bought our sweet cottage, there were few plants and no trees in the front. We planted two "Red Sunset Maples." After six years they are a decent size and host a bird feeder. We can see this feeder from our front window, and enjoy seeing who is having a meal.

This photo was taken with my back to the bird feeder. You can see my Zephirine Drouhin Bourbon climbing rose through the fence.

Here is a close up of it poking through the fence. Something has been nibbling on the leaves. It is too early for Japanese Beetles and I haven't seen aphids so.....any ideas?

Here is a shrub by our creek. It is very like a Viburnum but no scent. I love its white blooms in this shady spot. If you look carefully, you can see our horse trailer, and my husband's stack of firewood.

Also along the creek, more Irises and some hosta not in bloom.

Hosta, Daylilies, Disobedient plant and a plant that I don't know the name of! My friend gave me some from her garden, but she didn't know the name either! It grows about 6 feet tall with lovely golden flowers. I am continuing my search to find out what it is! It is a great cutting flower, as it lasts for a long time when cut.

More Iris. Do you see the large rocks in both pictures? My husband dug them out of the horse pasture last weekend, and placed them in these flower beds. They look great!

Well, I hope you enjoyed your visit to my gardens. When the flower beds in the back of the house start to bloom, I will be sure to show those as well!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Talking Pennsylvanian!

My brother in law (a Pennsylvanian living in Senegal West Africa) sent this to me today!

Talking Pennsylvanian

Once a Pennsylvanian, ALWAYS a Pennsylvanian!

About Pennsylvanians:

You've never referred to Philadelphia as anything but 'Philly' and New Jersey has always been ' Jersey'.

You refer to Pennsylvania as 'PA' (pronounced Pee-ay). How many other states do that?

'You guys' is a perfectly acceptable reference to a group of men and women.

You know how to respond to the question 'Djeetyet?' (Did you eat yet?)

You learned to pronounce Bryn Mawr, Wilkes-Barre , Schuylkill, the Pocono's, Tamaqua, Tunkannock, Bala Cynwyd, Duquesne and Monongahela.

And we know Lancaster is pronounced Lank aster, not Lan kaster.

You know what a 'Mummer' is, and are disappointed if you can't catch at least highlights of the parade.

You know what 'Punxsutawney Phil' is, and what it means if he sees his shadow.

The first day of buck and the first day of doe season are school holidays.

At least five people on your block have electric 'candles' in all or most of their windows all year long.

You know what a 'State Store' is, and your out-of-state friends find it incredulous that you can't purchase liquor at the mini- mart.

Words like 'hoagie,' 'crick,' 'chipped ham,' 'dippy eggs', 'sticky buns,''shoo-fly pie,' 'lemon sponge pie', 'pierogies' and 'pocketbook' actually mean something to you. That's PA slang for purse!

You can eat cold pizza (even for breakfast) and know others who do the same. Those from NY find this 'barbaric.'

You not only have heard of Birch Beer, but you know it comes in several colors.

You know the difference between a cheese steak and a pizza steak sandwich, and know that you can't get a really good one outside PA, except Atlantic City on the boardwalk.

You live for summer, when street and county fairs signal the beginningof funnel cake season.

You know that Blue Ball, Intercourse, Paradise , Climax, Bird-in-Hand, Beaver, Moon, Virginville, Mars, and Slippery Rock are PA towns.(and the first three were consecutive stops on the Reading RR).

You know what a township, borough, and commonwealth is.

You can identify drivers from New York , New Jersey , Maryland or other neighboring states by their unique and irritating driving habits.

A traffic jam is 10 cars waiting to pass a horse-drawn carriage on the highway in Lancaster County .

You know several people who have hit deer more than once.

You carry jumper cables in your car and your female passengers know how to use them.

Driving is always better in winter because the potholes are filled with snow.

As a kid you built snow forts and leaf piles that were taller than you were.

You know beer doesn't grow in a garden but you know where to find a beer garden.

You also know someone who lives 'down the lane'.

You actually understand all this and send it on to other Pennsylvanians for former Pennsylvanians!


Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Thank you to all our service men and women, who have given the last full measure of devotion to our country.

Longwood Gardens

Yesterday was a gloriously beautiful day. We went to Longwood Gardens after church and had a delightful day. It was very crowded, due to the nice weather and the holiday weekend.

This year they have treehouses. This is the only one we saw yesterday, as the kids say, "we have a family pass now, we can come back whenever we want!"

This is the Italian Water Garden. It is one of my favorite spots.

The new children's garden is open and amazing. We can't wait to go back. Kyle especially loved the water features.
The children's garden is beautifully made, with bronze sculptures for railings and interesting details. In the perennial garden there were lovely peonies.

Delightful rose arbors.

An interesting hybrid geranium.

I love walking through the giant topiary garden, it makes me think of Alice in Wonderland.

It was a lovely day. I can't wait to go again!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

19 Years Ago

My oldest turned 19 today. It is really hard to believe that it has been that long ago. It was always my dream to be a wife and mother. God has blessed me with being both.

The road with my oldest has not been easy. I believe however that God has allowed it for a purpose. We are so thankful for still having a relationship with him. We live very different lives, yet he still loves us and we love him. We pray that God will continue His work.

Happy Birthday Nate. We love you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fun Day At The Garden Center

At a local garden center, they have a fun play ground.

It was a beautiful afternoon.

These are gorgeous roses!

Flowers growing in the field.

We bought a few plants and lots of strawberries to eat! Yummm!

Cutest Girl in Glasses

This is especially for Auntie Paula!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Color Red

Don't you just LOVE this red refridgerator? I do - it's got personality, baby! I have always loved red. I look great in red. I used to have a favorite red dress that I wore to church until our former pastor's wife told me that her husband had a hard time with the color red - something about it being a dominating,powerful color or I stopped wearing it to that church.
I never used to decorate with red but my husband likes bold colors and red fits that category quite well, thank you. Now we have a red basement, a red bathroom (gorgeous!) and have red accents in our room and in the livingroom.
I found out that my Great-Grandmother Adelade loved red and even had a red refridgerator! So I guess I come by it naturally.

Monday, May 19, 2008

One Way or Many Ways - The Gospel According to Oprah


A game our family enjoys playing is Rook. Usually my parents, Tim and I play but recently we taught the older girls to play. The are really good at this game. Last night we "grown ups" played but for the last hand Lindsay sat in for me. I probably should have had her play for me alot sooner, as it was not a good night for me!

My Office

When our oldest moved out this year, we took over his room! After all when you have a 4 bedroom home and 6 kids, 2 parents, 2 dogs, need all the space you can get!

The first thing we did was to clean this room from top to bottom and to air it out. This room hadn't see the light of day for years! Think gym socks and body spray - when you recover from that, think black curtains, and grey walls. So step two was to take the curtains down and to paint the room! This color is called "Baklava." It is a warm, lovely color and looks great with the white furniture. The dresser you can see in this picture was one of my recent painting projects. It had been black. There are also two small desk in here. One in front of the window, where I sew and the other on the short wall that my young daughters play "office" at.

It feels good to have this room open now to the whole house. At first it was shocking to have the door open, and to have light coming from it. But we have adjusted just fine. While we miss our guy, we love having the room to use. He is welcome to come visit his old room anytime.

I Have A New Camera!

Saturday, my sweetheart went to buy mower blades and a new clock radio. He asked me if I needed anything. I said "I need a new camera." He came home with mower blades and a new camera for me! Huzzah!

He dropped in at Radio Shack and they had this one on clearance. It is 8.2 Mega Pixels and also takes video with sound! This is a good thing as our video camera is mysteriously missing. Which is very sad, because the case has all the tapes of the kids etc...

I am now back as a real blogger - I have a camera to post photos!

Thanks, Sweetheart and thank you Economic Stimulous Check!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Update on Becky!

I just had a phone call from Becky! She was on her way home from the hospital and was doing well. Her surgeon was able to complete her surgery laproscopically ( a huge answer to prayer). She did have a reaction to the morphine in the recovery room, pretty scary, but they were on it right away and everything was fine.
She is now home resting and being pampered by her lovely family and her dear mother.
She thanks you all for your prayers on her behalf!

A Meme

Miss Paula posted a fun meme on her blog:

Fun Answers

I am: A joyful wife and mother!

I think: constantly! There is always something going on in my mind! :o )

I know how to: sew

I want: to learn to knit

I hate: to see people sacrifice their constitutionally given rights, such as their parental rights. see

I miss: my grandma

I fear: that my children will have a harder time raising their families than I have had.

I feel: so blessed to know the Lord and to be raising these children he has given us!

I hear: my kids putting away clean dishes and laughing and giggling about something!

I smell: strawberries and cream!

I crave: coca cola

I search for: Big Stick popsicles but they don't have them anywhere near where I live! boo hoo

I regret: let my weight get out of hand!

I love: my husband, children and all of our family

I ache: sometimes my arm hurts alot

I care: for my friends

I always: read! All the time!

I am not: an unhappy person

I believe: I God!

I sing: often - we have a song for everything! hee hee

I cry: at sad movies

I fight: for homeschool freedoms, and parental freedom

I win: (sometimes) when I play Rook

I lose: pounds (hopefully as I make better choices and exercise)

I never: wear a mini skirt!

I listen: to talk radio and cd's in my van

I am scared: snakes!

I need: Encouragement

I am happy about: My home - we love it and loving using it to bless others.

I hope: that whoever is elected president next, will not be able to get much done to "change" our country!

Birthday Dinner Party

Yesterday, was my Mom's birthday. She amazingly enough is still only 39 years old! I have somehow passed her up!
Our family has many birthday's in May, and since we usually go out to dinner for the grown up birthdays in the family, with three grown up birthdays in May we decided to just go out once to celebrate them all! We did that on May 5th, my Dad's birthday.
So my dilema was what to do for my mom...then as usually I came up with a great idea the day before her birthday! I called her good friend and invited her and her fun husband, to come over to a surprise dinner party!
We feed the kids early, treated them to Micky D's "buy a medium or large drink, get a free chicken sandwich" deal. Then I marinated chicken breasts in my special marinade, Tim grilled them, the girls made salad and cut up fresh pineapple! I set the table with a pretty cloth, our china, pretty red goblets, and crystal goblets. Lindsay bought her grandma some beautiful Alstoemeria in a burgandy color. These we used as a centerpiece.
My parents arrived and my mom was unaware that her friends were coming until they arrived! Yea, we surprised her! The six of us adults, ate a lovely dinner and then the kids joined us for cake. This is my mom's favorite cake. We make a yellow layer cake, cut up fresh strawberries, put a bit of organic cane sugar on them. Then we whip up whipping cream and then put whipped cream and strawberries between the layers, and then frost the rest of the cake with the whipped cream! This is such a delicious, wonderfully light cake! Emily even put slits in a few strawberries, so they would fan out on the top of the cake!
Then presents and then my girls each played either piano or recorder for their grandma. We even got one of our guests to play acoustic guitar for us!
It was a lovely dinner party and evening.
Happy Birthday Mom.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Family Integrated Church
I thought that I had nothing to say today, until I went bowling. See, bowling has a greater purpose than just the physical exercise it affords. For me it is a place to connect with my fellow homeschool moms, a place of encouragement and sharing. Today was like that. A friend who was there was sharing some of her struggles. Is she doing enough with her kids, comparing herself to a relative that homeschools, working alongside her pastor husband to bring about change in their church. Her husband has been lead by God to desire a family inclusive service. He didn't even know there was a "name" for it - he found that out as he was doing research online.
I had to smile. I am always amazed by God. He lead my husband and I to desire that about 10 years ago, and since then we have kept our kids in the church service with us. I can be a difficult thing, especially at around 18 months old for children. They don't realize they shouldn't talk to you or their siblings! It is also difficult when your church feels like children should be in the nursery and children's church. Why would you want your kids in the church service with you? They don't get it. I know that they have good intentions. Some people who might bring their children into the service, do not teach their children to sit quietly and pay attention. (This really hurts the rest of us who do) They don't want the noisy kids to be a distraction, and we all know they can be. However, what about the teens chatting away or the adult who is determined to open that mint at all costs!!!
For thousands of years people have worshipped God together as families. In the Old Testament is speaks of all the people standing at the entrance of their tents, to hear from Moses, the Word of the LORD. It specifically states, young and old, children and nursing infants.
I stand in awe to see how God works in families to bring them to this place. We know about 5 or 6 families, who have been lead by God to this, each in their own time and in God's way. We didn't all attend the same church, we are from different denominations even.
Family integrated churches seek to have the family worship together. To have the children see their parents sitting under the teaching of the Word. To hear the Word together. To encourage father's in their role as leader of the home, to teach their families during the week as well.
Our family stays at the dinner table while Tim reads the Bible. We discuss it, ask questions. It is a good time - but not fussy or formal.
We do not go to a family integrated church. Maybe we never will. But I believe that God has placed us in the church we are at, for a purpose.
I wrote this post because of how awed I was at the way God had lead my friend and her family. How God lead my friend Becky and her church to make their fellowship a family integrated church. I don't really want to argue about it, but I am willing to have thoughtful discussion.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Quote By Peter Marshall on Motherhood

The challenge of the twentieth-century motherhood is as old as motherhood itself. Although the average American mother has advantages that pioneer women never knew—material advantages: education, culture, advances made by science and medicine; although the modern mother knows a great deal more about sterilization, diets, health, calories, germs, drugs, medicines and vitamins, than her mother did, there is one subject about which she does not know as much—and that is God.

The modern challenge to motherhood is the eternal challenge—that of being a godly woman. The very phrase sounds strange in our ears. We never hear it now. We hear about every other kind of women—beautiful women, smart women, sophisticated women, career woman, talented women, divorced women, but so seldom do we hear of a godly woman—or of a godly man either, for that matter.

I believe women come nearer to fulfilling their God-given function in the home than anywhere else. It is a much nobler thing to be a good wife than to be Miss America. It is a greater achievement to establish a Christian home than it is to produce a second-rate novel filled with filth. It is a far, far better thing in the realm of morals to be old-fashioned than to be ultramodern. The world has enough women who know how to hold their cocktails, who have lost all their illusions and their faith. The world has enough women who know how to be smart.

It needs women who are willing to be simple. The world has enough women who know how to be brilliant. It needs some who will be brave. The world has enough women who are popular. It needs more who are pure. We need woman, and men, too, who would rather be morally right that socially correct.

Mother's Day Photos

I trust you all had a great Mother's Day yesterday. Ours started off with the potential to be not good, but turned out fine.

You see Tim took us all to breakfast at Cracker Barrel before Sunday School. That was alot of fun and then we dropped the younger girls off at church for their classes. Then we went to get gas for the van and Tim remembered he needed oil filters so he ran into Napa to pick some up along with oil. While he was in the store, the head of the children's ministries called me and said that Rachel felt like she was going to be sick! Yikes. We headed right back there to pick her up. By then Tim decided to just stay at church with the older girls, and I took Rachel and Kyle over to my mom's (they live much closer to church than we do). I stayed there with those two during church. Rachel rested, and felt much better. Sigh. That was a relief. I think maybe she just ate too many pancakes at breakfast!

After church we went home and Tim grilled some steaks, and the girls made a great salad and cut up fresh pineapple, cantalope and strawberries! It was very yummy!

My children presented me with a delightful gift:


The Sense and Sensibility comes with "Miss Austen Regrets" so I received 3 movies!

I can't wait to watch them!

Here are some photos of the day:

CHAP Homeschool Convention

Every Mother's Day weekend (Friday and Saturday) the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania hosts the world's largest homeschool convention! We have been going to this convention for about 12 years. We have been volunteers at the convention for about 10 years now. We are always blessed.

This year the keynote speaker was Voddie Baucham. He was fantastic as he challenged us to Biblical thinking and encouraged us in our homeschooling and parenting.

This year we walked a relatively new homeschool mom through the convention. That was fun, being veterans and all. The vendor hall can be overwhelming, with hundreds of vendors. We also went to our traditional Burger King lunch with good friends of ours on Friday. Their daughter and ours are really good friends, and they love to spend Friday of the convention going to all the booths of things that they are interested in. A big hit is always the science booths that are blowing things up!

My favorites are the discount booksellers, Miller Pad and Paper (the best paper, notebooks and art supplies), Vision Forum great family resources, Veritas great classical education curriculum. I like to buy books about composers and artists from them and this year we also bought "The Thinking Toolbox" by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn. This is a book about logic and thinking. It is going to be a fun book to read through with the girls.

I was exhausted after two full days, but they were great also. I am already looking forward to next year!

Family Visit

My Aunt Nancy and Uncle Jim came to visit. They stayed with Dad and Mom, but we got to hang out with them alot! That was so fun. We hadn't seen them for quite awhile, as they live in Arkansas. However they are getting ready to move to Hawaii! What an awesome retirement! Nancy's daughter lives there. Nancy's granddaughter Nicole (Life in Jesus), is moving to the property in Arkansas! Very cool.

We had a bbq, went to Shady Maple Smorgasbord for the May birthdays, they went to Gettysburg.

My Uncle is an archeologist and it was interesting to talk to him. My Aunt knows all the family history so I loved talking to her!

Here are some photos of the night before they left.

Dad and his sister Nancy.

Jim, Nancy, Mom and Dad.

Jim, Nancy and the kids. If you look closely you can see that Rachel is holding one of the little tiny kittens!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day!

I will be back tomorrow to post photo's from my busy week! It has been fun, and exhausting!

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Great Post at A Fun Blog!

I am in the midst of family visiting and getting ready for our homeschool evaluations tomorrow, so instead of me writing a post I wanted to encourage you to check out this post over at Nesting Place.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Kittens Again

Update on the names...

Kyle has named one Thomas. This is not after the househelp of the Dashwoods, but after a certain blue tank engine.

The other one is a male bobtail and I have named him Bob. (aren't I the most creative person you know?) Actually it is in honor of my dad, whose birthday is today. And of course the cat is a bob-tail so Bob sort of suits him, don't ya know....

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Kitten Update

Elizabeth Bennet gave birth to 5 kittens today, all tabbys, 2 bobtails, 1 female. One of the males, the second born kitten whom the girls named Mr. Elton, had some issues from birth and this evening went to be with his Creator as all good clergymen do.

Sarah got to name the first one and she chose "Mary". I do not know whether she meant Mary Bennet or not, but it is in keeping with our tendency to choose names from Jane Austen novels. We do have a Captain Wentworth as well. The other two names have not been decided, as of yet.

So far Lizzie is a good mother and Mr.Knightley is leaving them alone. Lizzie and Knightley have always been close, grooming one another etc... so I do not anticipate any paternal issues.

They are very cute kittens and I will try to post photos soon.

Elizabeth Bennet Is Having Kittens

We have two cats, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Knightly. They are from our now deceased cat's first litter. We had a Fitzwilliam Darcy as well, until the girls realized the next day that it was not a male but a female, so it quickly became Georgianna Darcy! We gave all these kittens away, but ended up with Lizzie and Mr. Knightly. They married and are now going to be parents - It is shocking I know! What will Lady Catherine de Bourgh say? Poor Mrs. Bennet! I think she just might take to her bed - this is certainly worse than Lydia running off with that awful Mr. Wickham! Jane Austen would be highly amused, I think.

We woke early this morning to hear tiny mew's coming from outside our bedroom window. She had her first kitten in our newly mulched flower bed. How delightful -

I will keep you updated as the day goes on.

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Lovely Courtship and Engagement Story

For some reason I am having trouble with the links I posted here. I wanted to share a courtship story and engagement story of James and Stacy McDonald's daughter Tiffany. You can read both at Stacy's blog The engagement story is today's post and the courtship story is March 3, 2008.
For me it is encouraging as the mom of 4 daughters, to see God's faithfulness, to this young couple.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

An Interesting Day

This morning I went to help clean a house. A lady from my church is trying to show love to a neighboring family. This family's daughter is in the hospital - overdosed last week - and will be in rehab for at least 4 weeks.

The family is unsaved, and it was very hard to see the hopelessness. This teen daughter, who is just one year older than Lindsay, doesn't even realize that there are options to premarital s*x, drugs, etc...

The mother is completely overwhelmed with this and with the struggle they had had with their daughter and is not really able to keep up with anything. So, we went and cleaned up the daughters room, sorting through things, we also cleaned their kitchen, bathroom and the son's room.

Would you please pray that God will draw this family to Himself, and that they will be able to rejoice is His Salvation?

This was not something I was looking forward to doing. I didn't know them, in fact I didn't really even know the lady from my church who is their neighbor. Tim encouraged me that I "should see what God might have for me in it." I am glad that I went, I am glad to have served my God by serving this family. I am glad that I have made a new friend from church.

God is at work - I can't wait to see what He is going to do!


  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...