Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Gathering The Moments

I'm joining Cheryl again this month to "Gather the Moments" of April.  The months just fly by, and I'm grateful to have a place to record it all.

Happy family, lemon cupcakes, flowers picked, colored eggs, a bit of blue sky, matching dresses, happy newlyweds, lots of reading, pretty tea cups.

This describes the month of April.  Grateful for it all.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Baking: A Taste of Sunshine

Spring is definitely here and while we are going back and forth with sunny days and rainy days, we are in the mood for different tasting foods than the ones we ate during the Autumn and Winter.

A favorite flavor here is lemon!  It's also a favorite scent too, as I like to diffuse lemon essential oil.

I was looking for a homemade lemon cupcake for Easter and LOVED the one I found!

My photo of the cupcakes I made for Easter!

  1. 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  2. 1 cup (200g)granulated sugar
  3. 2 large eggs
  4. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  5. 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour
  6. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/2 cup (120ml) milk (cow, almond, soy)
  1. zest + fresh juice of two medium lemons*
  1. 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  2. 3-4 cups (360-480g) powdered (confectioners') sugar
  3. 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream*
  4. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
  1. additional lemon zest for decoration, if desired
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 12-count muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.
Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed in a large bowl until creamed. About 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 additions, stirring by hand after each addition. Batter will be thick. Add the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix until just combined, do not over mix.
Pour batter evenly into 12 cupcake liners. Bake for about 20 minutes. Check at 18 minutes, then again at 20. A toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean when done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer. Beat for about 3-4 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add powdered sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if mixture is too thick. Add more salt if frosting is too sweet. Frost cooled cupcakes. If topping with lemon zest, do so right before serving. There may be leftover frosting depending how much you use on each cupcake.

Makes 12 cupcakes. Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day and then in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
The recipe was found on Sally's Baking Addiction.

They are just the right combination of tart and sweet and the vanilla buttercream is delightful with them!

If you try them let me know what you think!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Home Keeping: New Living Room Arrangement

We haven't painted the master bedroom yet, but this weekend I decided to try a new furniture layout.  This was a great opportunity also to vacuum under furniture, since it was all moving around, and mop the wood floors.  I used Murphy's Oil Soap and added some Orange essential oils.  It smelled wonderful!

 I went for a bit of diagonal placement of furniture.  Sometimes it is just what's needed to create enough room to move around the space well.  Also I like to create cozy, conversational spaces.  That was more important to me than whether every seat can see the television.  Know what?  They can't, but this chair and the loveseat move easily and we've already done that to watch a movie. 

Last evening we gathered here with friends and laughed and laughed.  Oh, my goodness.  There IS good medicine in laughter!

 I've been moving books around too.  Some have moved to a bookcase in my room and some I moved downstairs to those bookcases.

I also changed out my tea cups.

 Aren't they pretty?  Old Country Roses variations.  We used to have a Royal Doulton outlet near us and I could get these sets for half price of the outlet price at the right time of the year!  

Sarah made this arrangement the other day.  Pear blossoms and Dandelions.  She has a heart for beauty and I love the way she brings it into our home.

So there you have it.  The latest re-arrangement in my living room.  I'm liking it very much, and it reminds me that I want to look for a rug for this space.  Everything is looking very brown, furniture wise.  I guess I'll just have to make sure that colorful personalities fill this room!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sing With Me Now

A great gift to me in having young kids still at home is that I have been introduced to music that I may not have listened to on my own.

I don't love much of Contemporary Christian Music but there are some songs that I do love.  This is one of them!  Any song that brings the focus of worship on Christ and what He has done for us gets is a very good thing!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Garden: A Peek At The End Of April

 The evening was coming quickly last night when I went out to snap some photos and hang out with Tim while he and Kyle loaded wood into the back of his truck.  They were reloading the wood rack at the back of the house.

These tulips in the front garden are interesting.  They open up really wide during the day, almost like a poppy.

My Cleveland Pear is gorgeous right now.  It sits on the corner of our property and adds beauty.

 It was lovely out.

 The Wild Violets are blooming in the yard right now.  I love a country yard, there are so many interesting things growing in it.  Apparently the Robins like it too.  We always have a ton of Robins.

 This Azalea has been in our garden since before we moved here.  It hangs out in the back garden near the A/C unit and the wood rack.   I was happy to see the flower buds!

 This wagon has seen better days, but it is beloved in our family.

The day lilies are looking good.  

We need to get mulch soon.  I am also happy to see my Peonies coming up and other things.  I'll get some more photos this weekend.

Also I bought some herbs this week and will do a post on them.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Home Education: Finishing The School Year

We are in final countdown mode here - only 13 more days until we reach the 180 days required by the state.  It's been a really good year.

Kyle and Sarah have studied Math, Botany, World History during the time that Christopher Columbus and his sons were living, Geography, Language Arts, Reading, Art, Music, Physical Education, Health and Safety.  They have also done Bible and Home Economics.

Rachel is a freshman this year and has studied Pre-Algebra, World History, Anatomy and Physiology, English, Music, Physical Education, Health, Home Economics, and Bible.  She has earned 8 1/2 credits.

We are done with our history and geography, and science, are finishing up our health and safety.  The other subjects are on going ones that we continue year round, including math.  I have discovered for my kids do better if we don't take a break from math over the summer.  However, I love our summer break so I just have them do a math lesson a few days a week.  Easy peasy, and no wailing and gnashing of teeth (from all of us) when we resume our school work in August.

Reading is a big thing in our house and you can always find somebody curled up with a good book.  As I am writing this in the living room this is what I see from my vantage point.

This makes my heart so happy!  A person who can read can teach themselves about anything!  

Here is my current stack that I am working through.
Brambly Hedge is for Kamryn and Kyle but I like it too.  Such sweet illustrations as well.  

Do you know Brambly Hedge?

Education can be, should be, must be full of delights.  

Off to read

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Home Keeping: Master Bedroom Color

I posted here about us moving back into the Master Bedroom after nine years of the girls living in that space.  We are loving this space!  However we aren't loving the color, wanting a warmer color similar to what we had in our old bedroom.

Here are a few photos from several different room arrangements in the old bedroom.  Note the paint color.

I still have the same bedding, which is amazing to me the one who loves to change things around and repurpose spaces.  But we still love it so there you have it.

This color was called Glazed Tile, and was my husbands suggestion.  We had painted a green that we didn't really like but kept for a year (pre bedding).  I was folding kitchen towels one day while we were talking about paint colors and he picked up one that was similar to this yellowy gold color and said "I'd like something like this."  Done.  We loved it, and still do.

I love the Williamsburg paint colors and having used their Palace Chambers Yellow for my living room/kitchen space, I had seen a few colors that I thought would work, I decided to go with one that I already had a sample card for.

Here is my color choice

I believe it is an older color and I couldn't find an online source for this specific color so I took a photo of my color card.  It's called "Brush Damask Wallpaper Yellow."

Happily, a local hardware store had a buy one, get one free sale on paint last weekend!  I know have everything I need for painting my room.  I just have to figure out when I am going to do it.  But Oh, I can't wait to do it!

So what do you think?  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter 2014

We love Easter.  It is a time for us to focus on what Jesus did for us on the cross, making atonement for our sin.  We also love to celebrate His Resurrection and the fact that we too can have New Life!

On Thursday, we met at the church building for a special project.  You can read about it here.  It really looks amazing!  It was really neat too, that we were able to have it done for our Breakfast at church on Sunday morning.  We meet pondside at a local park on Easter mornings, to sing and read some scripture then pray.  Afterward we go over to the church and eat breakfast together before Sunday School.  The room looked amazing and open and having it all one unified space is terrific!

The kids colored some eggs.  We've never taught our kids about the Easter bunny, (I've never figured out how a bunny brings eggs anyway) we talk about how in older times eggs were a simple of new life.  And we like to make our eggs beautiful colors!

After church we had my parents, my niece, Nate and Kay and Kamryn, Lindsay and Joseph, our friend Denny, and our friends the Bustis here for lunch.  We had ham, green beans, broccoli salad, cheesy potatoes, jello salad, sweet french bread rolls, Lemon Delight and Homemade Lemon cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream frosting!  It was good!

Here is a link to the most amazing lemon cupcakes.  Very lemony, a tiny bit tart that is offset by the buttercream!  

We had an egg hunt for the kids in the late afternoon, little candies and my mom always does some eggs with money.  The kids have so much fun hunting them.  One of the kids told me that one of our hens was pecking at one of the plastic eggs!  I'm sure she was confused as to what this might be!

 My lovely niece Kaitlin.  She and my mom had front row seats to the egg hunt action!

 Our sweet friend Amy, and Emma pouring over the new James Avery catalog.

 The newlyweds in on a fun conversation.  They spent a good portion of the beautiful day on horseback.  It's fun to see them take the horses out for a ride.  The horses are out of shape after a long winter of eating and standing around, so it's good for them to get some exercise!

 Joshua and Kamryn.  She says "We are best friends."  They are eating their cute snack Rachel made them.

 Here it is.  I made the little signs so that the kids would know which one was theirs.

My beautiful Emma and Kamryn at church yesterday!

I hope that you all had a wonderful day focusing on the JOY that Jesus' death, burial and resurrection gives to us!

Friday, April 18, 2014


A friend shared this on Facebook and I don't know who to attribute this to.  I found it really helpful for understanding the timeline of the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ.

May we remember the great gift of Salvation that is offered to each one of us.

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April Note Card Party

Having fun with Vee's Note Card Party!  If you don't already participate or follow this monthly party, you should give it a try!

I am longing to see the beautiful flowers in my garden, so I decided to make cards with photos from the past few years.

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you enjoyed a taste of Spring and Summer!

Rainy Day!

Enjoying a day at home.  Rain, school, Chicken and Pasta for lunch, tea.  Auntie playing with Kamryn, legos, plastic bowls and blocks.  Lots of play.  Now it's resting time and Tim is reading The Two Towers.  

Now I need to look for Note Card Party photos.  I'm thinking of old Spring flower photos.  See you tomorrow!

New Hutch In The House

Friday night our friends came over and we had pizza and fun. Tim and Mike worked on work stuff, Kyle and Daniel played games and looked at o...