Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Saturday, January 31, 2015


This morning I made pancakes for breakfast.  I don't always cook breakfast and usually pancakes are a Sunday evening meal, but a friend gave us this terrific mix for Blueberry Pancakes by Christina Maser

 The kids loved them.  (Tim was at work)  I can't eat them since I am doing the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan, so I made myself on plan pancakes.

They are really yummy too.  

Here is the recipe - 

1 cup oatmeal
1 cup egg whites
1 cup cottage cheese
1 teaspoons baking powder
dash vanilla
2-3 tsp sweetener

This makes about 6 pancakes.  I can eat three of them and this allows me to have 3 in my fridge for another meal during the week.

Friday, January 30, 2015

My Busy Week

I am writing this from the comfort of my bed.  I've been 'up' for hours, but doing my reading and computer time in my cozy bed.  I am wide awake and the kids are up and have had breakfast and are dressed and ready to begin their schoolwork.  I'll be doing history and science with them soon.  

This week was a busy one for me, and by busy I mean a lot of trips out of the home.  On Monday, Lindsay and I went for haircuts.  I just needed a trim, but I had Julie, our stylist, blow it out.  I never wear my hair straight!  I am a naturally curly girl, and I use a curling iron too, so this was a very different look for me!

 I posted it on FB and my mom didn't recognize me!  ha!  I'm not a very good selfie taker either!

Lindsay hadn't had a hair cut in a few years.  Being an animal handler and having to wear wigs and costumes on stage, she needs her hair to be easily pulled into a pony tail.  

 Julie took a bit of length off and gave her some great layers, then curled Lindsay's normally straight hair!  It looked great!

 Tuesday we went on a double date with my parents to Longhorn!  I'm so glad steak is on plan for me! 

Here I have curled my hair from the day before and it looks a little funky.  Oh, well, that is the way my hair is!

Wednesday I was home all day, then yesterday I met a friend for lunch and we went to visit a gal who used to go to our church.  She is in a local rehab hospital as she needs some therapy on her legs.  We had a really good visit.  Then in the evening Tim and I went out again.  We were treated to dinner at a local historic tavern.  It was a fun night with great food and lovely company.

Today is a home day, then we are going to my parents house for dinner.  Tim is helping my niece with the brakes on her car, and she is cooking dinner!

Do you ever have these kinds of weeks?  It seems like I am mostly home except for grocery shopping, but then I'll have a week were I am out a lot!  

This weekend is a home kind of weekend.  Good thing, too.  I have a lot of tidying to do, and I rearranged a bit in my bedroom so I have some stuff to put away.

What are you up to this weekend?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Gardening: Dreaming In Winter

Today, I am dreaming of my garden, and wanted to share some photos with you.  I don't like to rush the seasons but I do like to think ahead about my gardens, and what I'd like to do with them this year.  

There is a lot going on here behind the scenes.  I'm not able to talk about it yet, but soon I will.

I am meeting a friend for lunch today, and then we are going to the rehab hospital to visit another friend who is dealing with an autoimmune issue due to diabetes.

I hope you have a really good day.  Thinking of all of you New England gals, and hoping you are all well.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


I've mentioned before about not having very many family heirlooms.

We are watching older seasons of Downton Abbey and in one episode in Season 2, Lady Mary and Sir Richard Carlisle are looking at an estate near Downton, and she asks him, "How will we furnish it?"  Sir Richard says, "We'll buy whatever we want."  Lady Mary says to him, "Your lot buys furniture, our lot inherit it."

Wouldn't it be wonderful to inherit beautiful furniture, silver, dishes and the like?

Since most of us never will, I decided to buy some silver things that I like, and use for teas, that I can leave to my children.  It will be not an expensive inheritance but one of beauty and of good memories of using these lovely things.

Sarah got a gift certificate, to one of our favorite vintage stores, for Christmas.  We went shopping there last week, and I pointed out a beautiful tea/coffee pot in silver plate.  I told her that she could start collecting beautiful heirloom items as well.

 She loved it and when I offered to cover the extra above her gift certificate, she snapped it up.  She put it in the living room on the bookcase where we can all enjoy looking at it.

 It needs a bit of cleaning, but aren't the details lovely?

I'm happy she chose this over something consumable.  (she's a huge writer and artist and goes through notebooks and sketch pads like water)

This is a usable heirloom that she can pass down in her own family one day.

The line from John Keats is true: A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Home Keeping: January Shelf

This enormous shelf over the stairs to the basement is a challenging one to decorate. 

 First, it is the only thing on this big empty wall.  Second, the stairs are literally right below the stairs with just a little ledge, so this makes putting things on the shelf difficult.

I wanted something different for January, so I polished up the silver pieces I have and used them for some sparkle.  

 The mantle clock is an old anniversary gift we gave ourselves.  It doesn't work anymore but we may get it fixed.  I am seriously thinking of painting the wood black.  I think it would look so much better in the house.

 Tim got me the creamer and the sugar bowl and tray for Christmas!   They were badly tarnished but a little elbow grease and Cape Code Polishing Cloths and they look great!

This little silver cup was my Dad's baby cup.  It's really cute, and neat to have not only my new to me family "heirlooms," but a piece that truly is a family heirloom!

Are you doing any rearranging in your house during these cold winter months?  I find it the perfect time to work indoors, de-cluttering, moving furniture, reading a book, knitting, baking. What are you up to these days? 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Home Keeping: Unusual Art For The Home

Last year sometime my Dad brought an official map of all the clan tartans of Scotland over for me to look at.  Its pretty neat, if you like this kind of thing which I do, and it has been in my organizer on my desk ever since.

Its quite large and the other day while sorting and organizing I realized that it would look really good on the wall above my desk.

Doesn't it look neat?

My desk is now cleared off and organized inside the drawers and on top.  I also organized the CDs and movies in the hutch that holds the TV (for watching movies), and I did a catch all drawer in the kitchen.  It's amazing what you can accomplish in just 15-20 minutes.

So what do you think about my new 'art' poster?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Books: When Fiction Meets Real Life

I just started a book by Kathleen Morgan called, "A Fire Within."  It takes place in one of the Clan Campbell castles called Kilchurn.

Imagine my surprise today when looking on "The Queen's English" Facebook page and finding this gorgeous photo of Kilchurn Castle.  It's considered a ruin now but it is open to the public.

I am a huge history lover, and so I love historical fiction.  Real people and events along with fictional characters make history come alive.

I've read several other books by Kathleen Morgan, all set in Scotland.  This current read starts in May 1568.

Do you like to read historical fiction?  Who are some of your favorite authors?  Favorite books?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Home Keeping: My Own Schedule

I was thinking today of how blessed I am to be in charge of my own schedule.

When we owned our store a few years ago, I was not in control of the schedule.  The store had to have someone it in during the hours we were opened and if a girl couldn't be in there, I was, as well as on my regular day.  I liked the store and loved meeting customers but I missed being in my home.

At home I can order my days to suit my family, and our schedule.  I can let the kids sleep in if we had a late night, I can hang out in my pajamas for a few hours while I check email and read blogs, and Facebook in the mornings.  

I decide whether I'll read in an afternoon or do some sewing or knitting.  I like deciding how to rearrange the furniture and what I am going to put on my big shelf.  

I like listening to my children practice their instruments - cello, piano and now a new recorder player.  I like having my Mom visit us on Tuesdays, and I like it when she and my Dad stay for dinner and games, like they did last night.

One day I'd like to have a business again, but I've learned that I would like to work from my home base, not do retail again.

What about you?  Do you like being at home?  Do you love working outside the home?  Do you work from home?  

I see all work as a blessing. After all God put Adam and Eve in a perfect Garden and put them to work.  Work is not a result of the curse! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Home Keeping: Cleaning and Organizing

January seems to bring out the desire to organize and rearrange, and clean.  I think it is the idea of fresh beginnings.

Yesterday I used Apple Cider Vinegar to clean mildew off our bedroom window frames, and the bathroom window too.  It builds up quickly in the winter, but ACV kills it, quickly.

Then I decided to sort through my jewelry box.  I have a lot of costume jewelry, since we owned a women's accessories store, and the jewelry box is really too small for what I have.  The drawers look much better, but I need something different for earrings, as I usually have to dump the whole small drawer out, in order to find the ones I want.  I may need to get one of the plastic bins with all the small dividers.  It wouldn't be as pretty, but I could keep it in the closet and if it made it easier to find the earrings I want, it would be worth it!

Then I started on my desk drawer.  Sigh.  I didn't get finished with this project before I had to start dinner.  I'll work on it today too, and then it will be much neater and organized.  Right now my desk looks like this.

The book wasn't in the drawer but I piled drawer stuff on top of the desk as I sorted.  Being real here!

Let me show you what I did to corral all the throw blankets we have around the cottage.

I used this great old crate, and I rolled up the blankets and stuck them in it.  This way they are not on the floor left hanging off a chair looking messy, but they are easily accessible for using!

One last truth photo.  The artwork for our bedroom - still unhung.

Ah, well.  It will get done, hopefully this week!

What are you working on at your home?  Any organizing, sorting, cleaning?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Intentional Living

Many years ago, I came to the realization that one doesn't have to follow the cultural trends in how you live or raise your family.  There are many, many things we chose to opt out of, for the sake of family life.

We wanted to live with intention, having life goals in mind for our children, and we wanted to have time to build these things into them.  Now, our life goals for our children had nothing to do with their life's work, but more the goal that our children would be taught about the Lord in our everyday lives.  You know, as Deuteronomy 6:6 says.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
 Tim and I both wanted our children to not feel as if God was only someone we talked about on Sundays or at church, but ONE who was involved with every aspect of our lives.  This meant we had to be in the word together, and to talk together, and to point out God's hand in our daily lives, so that they could see it for themselves.

We wanted our kids to love family - they all do - they are always happy when we are together for some event - grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins - the more the merrier!

We wanted our kids to care about others and to practice hospitality, so we live that out in front of them, imperfectly at best and yet wanting to practice hospitality.

This doesn't mean that because we chose to do it, that everything goes smoothly.  Sometimes we are selfish, and sometimes our expectations of others or their expectations of us don't match up!  But our kids benefit from seeing us work through challenges with the goal of not 'being right' but of wanting God to be glorified by our choices and behaviors. 

The challenge in this is that it requires time and intention.  If we intend to practice hospitality, that means that we fore go afternoon naps on Sundays, and make dozens of pancakes for dinner.  If I want my kids to know about self control, then I need to practice self control.

We will never get these years of their childhoods back.  These are the training years, the ones that require self sacrifice on our parts.  Having raised a few to adulthood, we know that these years go by so quickly.  We are enjoying our young adults, and seeing them thrive in their lives, working hard, loving their families and others.  Being involved in the lives of those the Lord brings their way.  Each one does this in a different way, as each one is different from their siblings.  

This reminds me of a Steve Green song from years ago:

"Oh may all who come behind us, find us faithful.May the fire of our devotion light their way.May the footsteps that we leave,lead them to believe, and the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful."

Young Mamas, Grandmas, friends, I hope you'll be encouraged that your work is not in vain.  You are encouraging others by your lives, leading little ones closer to the Lord, bearing each others burdens.  Choose good things, to model in front of your children.

I'm thankful for each one who is on this journey with me, and the faithful, praying friends, who encourage me!  I'm thankful for each of you who visit here, too!  Your friendship is precious to me!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Weight Loss Update

My last update was on December 15th.  I was at 27 pounds lost.  By Christmas I had hit 32 pounds lost!

Since then I have basically been maintaining that number and not by choice.  I had dipped down into 33 pounds lost, but it went back up to 32 and has bounced between that and 31 pounds lost for the last three weeks.  


I have been eating on plan, chose to not eat on plan on my anniversary (but that was only one meal!).  I have eaten a few crossovers, but not every meal, so I should still be losing, but I am not.

I have lost a few more inches though.  I'm trying to incorporate exercise now, and that may help.

I am planning to eat this way for live, but when you have significant weight to lose, like I do, you don't want to have long plateaus of no loss.

So there you have it.  I had hoped to be at 50 pounds lost by now, but I'm not.  However, last year at this time I had no hope that I would ever lose anything at all.  This 32 pound loss has given me hope, that I can lose what I need to lose, and then maintain it!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Homestead: Chickens In Winter

Our chickens are doing well, in spite of the cold temperatures.  Tim put a heat lamp in their coop to keep them warm overnight, and on those days when the temperatures have stayed in the low 20's or high teens.

Here are three of them free ranging on the property yesterday.  This is up by the house and I snapped this photo on my way to Rachel's cello lesson.

The 4 roosters went to the butcher a few weeks ago.  They are now in the freezer.  

The hens have slowed down the egg production quite a bit.  9 hens and we are only getting 2-3 eggs a day.  It will pick up again when the temperatures warm up.  I'll be glad of that.  There is nothing quite like fresh eggs.

 Do you have chickens?  Are you a fan of eggs?  Did you know that the color of the shell has everything to do with the breed of the chicken and not whether the egg is better for you than another color?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Flowers In January

Sometimes in mid January, when the temperatures have been COLD, and you have some patchy snow on the ground outside, sometimes you just need some flowers.

These Alstroemeria called my name in the grocery store.  They were buy one, get one free, so for $5.00 I have some long lasting beauty in the house.  I move them around.  First they were on the counter by the sink.  Then the long counter by the hallway.  Who knows where they will go next.  I like them to be where we all can enjoy them and be enriched by their beauty, or I'd put them next to my bed!

Have a happy day, friends!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Home Keeping: The Final Color

 So here we were with the first color Saturday night.  The light is the overhead fan light.  Very bright!  Too much for a soothing, but warm toned bedroom.

 Here is the final color this morning in natural light.  The room isn't fully put back together and we are giving the walls a few days to cure before we hang pictures back up!  This holder on my desk needs to be sorted out in the worst way!

 I like the color with the white trim as contrast.

 I turned the bedside lamps on, but you can see the natural light coming in the front windows and the side window, early this morning.  This was after I remade the bed and moved it and the dresser, and side table back in place from the middle of the room.

 The light in the room makes the color change a bit.  This is again the wall behind my desk.  It looks a lot deeper than the first photo of the desk area.

The light from the lamp makes the color deeper too.

We ended up having a gallon of the right color and a gallon of the living room color which were very close in color, so we mixed them together.  It is not the same color as my old bedroom, but I am satisfied with it, and like the warmth it brings, while being a soft color.

I'll show more photos after it is put back together with pictures, shelves, and curtains.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

Home Keeping: Bedroom Project

So, I was really surprised when Tim said he planned to paint our bedroom Saturday.

We already had purchased the paint in the spring but never got to this project!  Saturday being cold and windy was the perfect day for painting.  Usually I do the painting as Tim doesn't like to do it, but he is very meticulous and does a great job.

We moved all the furniture to the middle of our large room, and I took everything off the walls.  Tim decided to fill in all the nail holes from over the last 13 years, so we could start fresh.  Then he started with the ceiling, while the kids and I made a library run. Our local library has a great used bookstore that benefits the library.  We scored big time there.  I'm much happier supporting the library through the bookstore than through paying late fines!

I was Tim's gopher for the day, so I took a quick trip to our local hardware for more of the ceiling color.  There was just a small section left to paint, and he was out of Antique White.  When I returned he had started to cut in the wall color.   When that was done and he started to roll the color on, we both thought the color didn't look right.  A bit too bright, than the more aged goldish color.  I looked at my paint samples, compare them with our old bedroom wall color and realized I had purchased the wrong color back in the spring!  ARGGGH.  That's what I get for collecting so many yellow samples from the Colonial Williamsburg collection.  When I went to purchase the paint, I grabbed the wrong card!  I purchased CW 318 instead of CW 319.

All is not lost yet, however.  We bought the paint/primer all in one so we now have a nice, cheerful yellow to paint over, rather than the blue that had been on the walls.  And we do have a gallon of the right color because, during a previous paint sale, I had purchased a gallon to freshen up our old bedroom walls.  We put this project off because, we had decided that after Lindsay got married we would switch bedrooms around, and that Rachel and Sarah would want a different color in that room.

So, when Tim gets home today, he will roll that gallon on over the brighter yellow, and if we need more, we'll grab another gallon of the right color and finish it up!  The CW 318 is a pretty color, very sunny and cheery, but not the color we wanted for our bedroom.

Stay tuned for our continuing saga!  

It's icy here this morning.  Hope you are all safe and warm.  I'm headed out to feed horses and let the chickens roam if they want.  What are you up to today?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Surprise Plans

Tim just surprised me with plans for a project today.  It involves our bedroom.

The room arrangement is different than this already, though the bed, dresser and desk are all in the same places!

Any guesses?  (smiles)

I'll be back on Monday with pictures!

Friday, January 9, 2015

One Last Family Dinner

Last night we went to Tim's brother's home for a family dinner with Grammy.  She leaves today, heading back to Florida.  She has enjoyed being in the middle of lots of grandkids and activities.  We have been so blessed by her life.  At 93 she is cheerful, content, easy to have around, and loves to play games!

The only one missing was Emma, but we FaceTimed with her so she could be a part of it!

This morning we are off to a small cello performance by Rachel at her teacher's home.

Stay warm!

Information Friday, On Saturday

  Well, I was all set to do a post yesterday, but I had trouble uploading my photos. I really thought I'd get it done in the evening, bu...