Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Making A Life

How many of us are blessed to live the life we want to live?

I know that I am.

Now I am not talking about having huge amounts of money, driving a certain kind of car, etc.  I am talking about the important things of life.  Faith, family, friends, simplicity, love, caring for others.

We've chosen to be focused on people over things and the results have been wonderful.  We have deep and meaningful relationships, which give us encouragement, and a sense of community.

By being deliberate we have a rich home life with lots of laughter, joy, and love.  We do have stresses and we do have struggles, but the joy of our home makes it a place we all love to be, in the place where we are loved and accepted. 

My husband is creative and skilled in his work and works hard both at his place of employment and here at our home.  Over the years he has built a horse barn and now a chicken coop.  He has built and designed trim work for our home, put wood floors in, repaired cars, keeps the laundry process going.  Mostly though he reads the Word daily and prays and reads it to us and prays for us.

We chose home education for our children and we've always been thankful.  It is exciting to me to learn with my children every year.  I love seeing them learn to read and watching them conquer challenges.  I love hearing them telling their Dad or others about something they learned.

I love moving from Mommy to Mom and friend with my kids.  I love watching my granddaughter smile, and I love that we are the ones providing her care everyday while Mommy and Daddy are at work.

I am looking forward to my parents adding on to our home so that they can be with us daily and yet in their own space as well.  I'm excited about the trip my daughter and I are taking with my Dad to Scotland.  We leave in 10 days!  It's going to be awesome!

You can make your life by being deliberate about your choices.  What are the things you value?  What things are most important to you?  You can start being intentional about them, and making them the focus and good portion of your life.

When you do, you will be blessed and delighted with your life.  And thankful.

I know I am.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Getting Started

This is our verse for our school year!  I think it is a great one.  Rachel thought of it.  I always go for the one that says "So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom, " which is Proverbs 90:12.

Mondays are going to be busy for us as we get our morning school done and then Sarah's piano teacher arrives with her family, she has her lesson and then we start our home economics group.  We made bread yesterday.  The French Sweet Bread we all love, and that Rachel makes every month for our church's communion service.

Here is the recipe - 

French Sweet Bread

1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt (I omit the salt unless using unsalted butter, then use 1/4-1/2 teaspoon)
6 tablespoons melted butter
4 cups flour (4 to 4 1/2 cups total)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Dissolve yeast in water. Heat milk to lukewarm. In a different bowl, combine egg, sugar, cinnamon and salt, if using.
2. Add yeast, milk and 4 Tablespoons butter and mix again. Add flour gradually till it can be gathered into a soft ball. Blend in remaining flour with fingers.
3. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Use remaining butter to keep fingers from sticking. Don't use any more flour.
4. Place in lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled. Punch down and knead a few times. Divide in half, then divide each half into 3 pieces and roll each piece between hands into a long rope.
5. Braid ropes from middle, pinching ends together. Form into ring if desired, place on oiled baking sheet.
6. Cover and let double. Bake at 350ยบ F for 30-45 minutes. 

This bread is wonderful and easy to make.  

Next week,  we are taking a field trip to the fabric store to pick out fabric for skirts.  They will be sewing simple skirts for their first projects.  Should be fun!

Now I have to go call my kids for the second time this morning.  They are used to sleeping in, and have to get used to being up earlier again.  

At least they won't be late for the bus!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Weekend

There are very few photos of this weekend, because I was busy living it.

Friday night we hosted a gathering of church friends who have been watching the video series of Love and Respect.  It was a good and if you are not familiar with it check out their website.

Saturday our friend Jeremiah and two of his sons came to help Tim with some excavating around our barn to help with the flow of water when it rains.  I made omelets and nutella waffles for breakfast and turkey and cheese sliders for lunch.  So, so good!

We've been having an issue with our rooster Cash for about 6 months.  He got aggressive and it got to be that he would not just be defensive if someone came near him or his two hens, but he would come to where you were and be aggressive.  Now this is a problem as we like to have full access to our property and Kyle would have to take a stick with him to go to the barn or to play.  He also would fly up at a person and claw them - he got Kamryn on her sides and another little friend on the neck and lip!  So that was that.  No more chances that he'd relax and settle down!

We dispatched him on Saturday.  Not a fun or pleasant task but necessary and an opportunity for the kids to learn.  Several of our kids didn't love it - but they plucked a little, and now if they ever have a need to raise some chickens for food they know the basics of how to do it.  We are planning on raising some meat chickens but there is a local butcher who will do all the unpleasant things and vacuum seal it ready for the freezer for just a few dollars a bird - well worth it and what we are planning to do.

Later that afternoon we ended up at our friends' house where Rachel babysat all the kids and we adults went to dinner!  We teased Rachel that Brigette was preparing dinner for all the kids and that it would probably be chicken!  We laughed a lot when we got there and it was!  

Our friends wonderful old farmhouse!

Sunday we came home from church and had lunch as a family, sat around the living room together, laughing, chatting and playing with our laptop, or iphones or iPods.  It was a real Apple advertisement!  Lindsay and Tim are addicted to "Move the Box". Tim took a nap in the chair, and I laid down and napped a bit too.

A family from church who we always hang out with went to a concert in the afternoon at a local church and then as we had invited them to they dropped in for a while.  We always have a blast.  The kids played outside (free of worries about the rooster), the parents chatted and feed hungry kids, the dads talked doctrine and church and another friend came over and installed a program on Lindsay's computer, and they played a strategy game.

It was the ebb and flow of the blessing of fellowship.

After our friends hit the road for their long drive home, Tim gathered us together to read the verses from the sermon yesterday 2 Peter 1:1-11.  There was good discussion and we found that it also tied into our Sunday School class too.  It is a blessing to hear my kids talk about what stood out to them or how they had never thought of a certain verse in that way before, etc.

Kyle, who is battling a cold and a raspy voice, fell asleep in his chair, and was carried to bed by his daddy.  

Now I must get moving this morning.  The girls are having their home ec class today - they are going to make bread, and I want to get a batch going early so it will be ready to work with when the girls get here this afternoon. Then with the dough they make we'll bake it later after it has risen and been shaped and risen again.

I'll take photos and show you how it goes!

I hope your weekend was wonderful, and that you have the blessing of family and good fellowship!

Saturday, July 27, 2013


 Genesis 1:3 And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.

 John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

 Luke11:36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light

 Genesis1:17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 

John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Something I Missed

It was cool and crisp last evening.  The kind of night usually experienced it the Autumn. 

 I loved it.

And I did something that I've missed.  

I had a deck date with my man.

As you know, I am NOT a fan of heat and humidity.  In the summer I tend to hide out in places with Air Conditioning.  If I have to do outside work, I do it early in the day or in the evening.

Yesterday was lovely.  Very pleasant.  I went out used the bow saw to take a few branches off of our Red Sunset Maples in the front yard.  Just smallish ones that are growing too low.  I like not whacking my head when I mow.

When the evening rolled around, the kids returned from their ultimate frisbee game at the park, and proceeded to hang out with Lindsay in the living room.

My man said, "Its nice outside.  We should sit on the deck."  I agreed quickly.

Out we went and were quickly joined by Emma.  Tim and I held hands and we all looked at the stars, and watched for satellites. 

When she was younger we would have shooed her back inside to give us our time alone, but we know that these years with her are winding down.  It's good to share time together and listen to each other, and talk about the changes growing up can bring and the expectations, etc.

It was good.

I had to go inside and get a blanket it was so chilly.  Delightful!

Time spent with my man, my girl, and God's glory on display made for a sweet night.

I've missed this.  Really missed it.

But I'm thankful for the preview of Autumn, and of deck dates to come.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Week Thus Far

I used to think it was just a phase and it would slow down again, but it hasn't.  I'm speaking of the busyness of my life.  I've come to accept that this is part of being available to the Lord, being poured out for His purposes.

I couldn't resist showing you this cutie!

I told you about our Practical Skills Summer.  That is going well.  Sarah helped with dinner last night - I gave her the job of seasoning the chicken and getting it into the oven.  It was delicious!

A few of my friends, with girls around the same ages as Rachel and Sarah, and I are getting our girls together one day a week (we just started this week) to learn homemaking skills.  We figured they'd have more fun sewing skirts together, or aprons, learning basic knitting stitches, crochet, stitchery.  We are going to do bread baking and some other cooking.  It is going to be nice because each of us will take a different week to be in charge of, so no one Mom carries to load.

This week, the girls made friendship bracelets and the moms had a time of fellowship - it was a much needed time of encouraging a dear sister.

Also it was a big day for Sarah, as she started piano lessons again!  

Our sweet friend Amy is teaching her.

Yesterday was Lindsay's surgery.  It went very well, and I thank you so much for your prayers for her and the surgery.  The doctor was delighted to find that she had no tear in the meniscus - said it must have been like a bruise and that it healed itself!

She's recovering well, and will start therapy tomorrow.  I was up with her at 3:00am to give her pain med.  Because this surgery requires a bit of tunneling through the bone, the doctor said that she'd have pain from that and to keep ahead of it by not missing a dose of medication.  So far she's been very comfortable.  We're thankful!

I finally got the mowing done yesterday, too.  Too much rain and too many days of high temps and high humidity caused me to put it off.  Well it's done now and looks so lush and green.  In the last few years as we got to late July and into August the front yard especially would be a bit crunchy it was so dry.  Not this year.

Today is cello for Rachel.  It suits her.  Her instructor is so perfect for Rachel.  Here is a link to one of her compositions based on the Lord of the Rings - Legolas's Song of the Sea.   She is now recording with her friend and they have a new cd out.  You can find her youtube page under Yolanda Mott.  She has other music she's done.  She's a lovely young woman and beautiful cellist.  She says that Rachel reminds her of herself at this age.

So there you have it Wednesday.  I have nothing scheduled for tomorrow except perhaps swimming at Camp Geezer.  Friday is my big shopping trip and we are hosting our church's Love and Respect video series. 

Monday we start our school year again.  I am leaving for Scotland in 18 days!  So excited!

Here are some of my beautiful Rudebekia growing by my deck.

I hope you're having a great day!  Rachel is done with her lesson now and we are going to head to Sonic to buy slushies for everyone as a treat!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lindsay Goes Under The Knife - UPDATE

****Lindsay's surgery went great and she is home and resting.  The doctor was so pleased to find that there was not a tear in the meniscus at all!  Just needed to replace the ACL and that went splendidly! She's happy to have it done.  The staff were all very warm, friendly people and they were all so interested in her job as animal handler!  She even had a nurse showing her photos of her own horse!

Here is a photo of her not too long before she went in for her surgery.

Thanking you all for your prayers!  What a blessing you are to me!

By the time you read this, most of you anyway, her surgery will be over.  We found out this morning that we have to be at the hospital at 6:00 am and her surgery is at 7:30 am.

She is eager to get this done and get back to her normal life.  She said tonight, "How soon can I run?"  Not that she is a runner or anything but she cannot wait to MOVE normally again!

She has been doing great - great attitude, cheerful, doing her pre-surgery therapy, chasing little chickens around the yard....

It's three weeks until we board a plane to Scotland, and hopefully she'll be able to get back to work a few weeks after that.  Her company doesn't want her back until she is 100%.  She misses her animals, and walking a horse up the center aisle during a show, and helping put the halters back on the llamas after they 'board' the ark.  This girl loves her work.

Please pray with us for her doctor - we really like him.  Pray for her recovery, that it will be quick.  We told our dear friend Georgia who is recovering from knee surgery due to a break, that we'll get her over here and she and Lindsay can hang out in the double reclining love seat together and talk horses, and the outdoor life they both love!

I'll update tomorrow.  Sorry this is so late.  I had quite a full day here.  It was good and we had sweet fellowship.  I'm thankful for the body of Christ.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Praise and A Prayer Request

Becky's delightful mother in law fell a few weeks ago and broke her knee.  She's been sprung from rehab, but is adjusting to being at home and yet not being able to put pressure on her leg at all for about 4 more weeks!

Also tomorrow Becky and her husband take their daughter Chelsea and Becky's mom Ruth to the airport.  Chelsea is going on an adventure.

A big one.

See, she is going to Australia to do training at a WYAM base and then in 3 months she'll be going to Thailand.  Big stuff and oh, so far away from home.

This is where the prayer comes in.

Pray for Chelsea and her trip and time in Australia.  God is going to teach her some things, of this we can be certain!

Also pray for Becky.  She is happy and sad all at the same time.

Pray too for Georgia, Becky's mil.  She was supposed to go on the first leg of this journey with Ruth and can't because of the leg.  

Tomorrow Rachel, Sarah and I are going to take brunch over to Georgia's house and keep her company for a while.  She's only come home a day or so ago and we do not want any falls or anything while they are on their airport run.

Thanks Friends, I knew I could count on you!

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Plate Rack Make-Over

Several years ago, I bought this sweet little plate rack at a yard sale for $2.  It was stained a dark brown, and I knew I would paint it white.  I began painting it and some else finished it for me.  It was not done very well, and had runs of paint on it.  So it sat in my basement for two years.

 Always in the back of my mind I knew I could make this cute and useful somewhere in my home.

 Last month it was sanded and ready to be made over.  I had been reading Miriam's blog for a while and wanted to give her milk paint a try, so I purchased some from my favorite store - Fresh Vintage by Amy in Strasburg.  Amy is a sweet friend, and very talented.  I bought the Ironstone Color and gave it a go.  

 I like how it turned out, and I decided to use it in my bathroom.  I have some items that will be going on these shelves but I am very happy with it.

I am interested in trying a different color on my son's desk.  Not sure if I will do milk paint or chalk paint yet.  I'm loving trying new paints, other than latex!

Have you tried milk paint or chalk paint?  What do you like/or not like about them?  Let's talk!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fun Find At TJ MAXX

Two actually.

I like to pop in at the Maxx and see what they have in their housewares section.  This time I was looking to see if I could find any tablecloths like Manuela showed us in her post here.  Doesn't that look great?  She and I use the same basic colors in our houses, and I am looking for living room curtains.  I only have one large window and thought it might be fun to try this bold pattern there.

However, they did not have any at my local store.  That didn't stop Lindsay and I from poking around anyway, and look what I found!

 This fabulous wire dish rack!

 I've wanted something like this for years.

 I am not sure if I'll stay with the copper finish on it or paint it black, but for now I am happy with it.

 It has pretty details and holds all of our everyday dishes.

I also found these great barkeeper towels in red!  These are the best towels for being absorbent.  Have you noticed how many cute towels out there these days will not absorb liquid?  Kinda crazy.

I'm sure having a rack with your dishes showing would not be every one's cup of tea - but I'm loving it! 

Oh, and a bonus is that I have new found cupboard space.  Second bonus is that everyone in the family can reach the plates when they  need to help set the table. Big win there! Woo Hoo!

Are you wondering the price I had to pay for all this amazingness? $16.99.  Oh, $5.99 for 5 towels.

So tell me what your best find has been, and what your favorite stores to shop are.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July Note Card Party!

We're having fun again this month at Vee's!

A Haven for Vee

I have been looking back over some of my old posts and found some of these lovely items that I use in my home.

Would you buy cards with these kinds of items?

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, July 15, 2013

High Tea

Yesterday afternoon we celebrated Sarah with a tea party!

 I had promised her scones, cream, lemon curd and jam, and treats.

 They could choose where they wanted to eat by which cup they wanted to drink out of.  I love that these girls loved the tea party!

 Sweet girl loves her chamomile tea with raw honey!

I made cupcakes and home made buttercream frosting, the mock devonshire cream.  Lindsay made the scones, and the lemon curd!

 Gorgeous flowers...

Fun view of the table!

These girls were all delightful and precious.  I love a tea party, don't you?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Flowers

I've been showing off my hydrangeas but I wanted to show you some of my other flowers that are in bloom here at our cottage.

 I took this photo while I was mowing the other day.  I have daisies to the left of the hostas there by the tree, and if you look carefully you can see our small chicken coop and one of the month old black australorps.  

 We have Japanese beetles this year again.  They like my roses and my hibiscus, which is not a surprise considering they are in the same family of plants.

This variety of Rudbeckia is tall - these are right against the deck and I'm standing on the deck taking this photo.  They are also the perfect country flower!  So charming and long blooming.  They look great cut too!

My poor potted plants!  So much rain - the sweet potato vines aren't thriving this year.  

The coneflowers, black eyed susans, hydrangea, and hibiscus are loving all the rain this year! 

Something that has been snacking on the petals of my black eyed susan.  Not nice!

We weeded out in this bed the other day and you wouldn't believe the amount of weeds there were!  My little crew and I knocked it out in less than 30 minutes, early in the day before it got too hot and humid.

Can you see Rachel weeding my the picket fence?

Have a great day!  We are going to have two much cooler days here!  I think I am going to turn off the A/C.

So how about you?  How are your summer flowers?


  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...