Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Gardening: Saving Seeds

The garden is hitting that late summer lull.  We're all feeling it.  August is upon us and we are anticipating Autumn.  Yes, I said it out loud!  

Our summer has been relatively mild overall, so I have no complaints.  Really.  I just want it to be Autumn now!  Pinterest has not helped this feeling at all!  I've been pinning things like this


But I digress.

Back to the garden.

The garden is getting past its prime and many plants are going to seed.  As I was weeding last week and cutting some things back, I could here several plants tossing their seeds as I moved them.

I decided to save as many as I could.

These are my hollyhocks. 

I love how the seed casing is flower shaped.  Hollyhocks are easy to grow and all you do is toss the seeds out into the garden once you are past your last frost date.  Oh, and be careful of free ranging chickens.  Ask me how I know.  

 These were really rattling in their casings (for lack of a better word.  I don't know the technical term).  These are from my Larkspur.

 This poor blurry photo is of my Lychnis seeds.  They are really a pretty flower, on an interesting plant.

Last but not least, my poppies.  These seeds are enlarged here.  They are really very tiny.

Here is a link to a post I did about the garden in Mid June.  You can see all these flowers in the photos.

I love to share plants from my garden and saving and sharing seeds are an easy way to do this.

Do you save seeds?  Do you share them with friends?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Senior Year Ahead

Rachel turned 16 at the end of May and has not slowed down.  She got her permit, has been driving all over Lancaster County, and applied several places for a part time job.

This week she got hired at one of our favorite fast food places to eat - Chick-Fil-A!

It's quite the process.  Open interviews - short, fill out a quick form, they give you a preliminary interview.  Next, fill out an application online that includes a 12 page survey. (personality type)  Then an interview with the owner, and finally the call to say, "We'd like to offer you a position."  

She had orientation yesterday, and will have safety training later this week.

She's excited.

This is going to be a big year for her.  She is in her senior year of high school, she'll get her driver's license, she has a job.

We are experiencing all those feelings you have as your kids grow up.  We are happy, sad, proud, excited.  She's a delightful young woman.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Grilled Chicken Salad

We love salads here at the Cottage and this one is a favorite.

It's so easy.  I grill chicken tenderloins (or I cook them on the stove), make up a salad of whatever you like or that you have on hand, voilà!  Dinner is served!

 Tonight I added red onion, home grown grape tomatoes, sweet peppers, cheddar cheese to the salad.

I sliced the chicken and put it on top of the salad and added my favorite thing about summer!

 But just a few, because they are high in natural sugar!

 Then I drizzled some of our homemade ranch dressing.
It was so good!  

Here is how I season my chicken - 

If I am grilling it I make a marinade of:

Red wine vinegar
mild tasting oil (I use mild tasting olive or coconut oil)
garlic powder
onion powder
chili powder

I just mix it up to taste.

If I cook it on the stove I put either oil in the pan or some butter
then I season it with the same ingredients as above though I usually don't add the oregano.

If you give it a try let me know how you like it.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

My Favorite Thing About Summer

Freestone peaches!  Locally grown!

Lindsay, Rachel and I made a trip to our local orchard.  We didn't pick them, though.  

I am going to can a lot of peaches this year!  I can't get enough of them!

How about you?  Are you a peach lover?  Do you do much canning of summer produce?

Friday, July 24, 2015


I've been busy preparing for several upcoming things.

The first of course is Nate and Kayleigh's wedding.  She and I shopped on Monday and got some items for the tables, the flower girl basket and the ring bearer pillow.  It was fun and it's great to see it all coming together.

The second thing I've been preparing for is our upcoming school year.  We start back in August and with the wedding in September and Tim's business starting, I am glad that we start early.  This always affords us flexibility during the year.  We also finish at the beginning of May (we don't have snow days, teacher in service days, etc) so by time we start we've had three full months off!

Tomorrow while I am out getting groceries and running errands, I will be getting pencils (I only use Ticonderoga brand), glue sticks, tape, paper, folders, art supplies.  I love back to school shopping!  Who am I kidding?  I LOVE back to school!

This will be Rachel's last year!  She's got an ambitious load - Biology, British Literature, math, history, humanities.  Plus, it looks like she will be a starting a part time job soon.  (more on that next week!)

I am also preparing for the start of Tim's business.  He has already begun but is still at his other job until the 31st.  I've been helping with making sure he has all his tools ordered, and has the supplies he needs.  I also have helped him with scanning and sending reports.

We are hoping to get my parents house on the market soon, so we are preparing our house and theirs.  Sorting, organizing, preparing plans.  It's all good.

There is always a lot going on but by planning and doing a bit at a time, it all gets done.  And I have my handy dandy crew here to help!  That's the real secret to my success!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New Chicks

With the family growing the need for eggs goes up and our current hens can't possibly keep up with demand!  Lindsay and I placed an order for new chicks two weeks ago and they arrived yesterday.

We were away yesterday so when they arrived at the post office, Lindsay picked them up and settled them in.

 Here they are still in their box but their new home for the next month will be a kiddie pool with removable chicken wire on top so they are protected from predators.  It also makes it easy to fill their food and water and hold them.

This is Lindsay's favorite - a Speckled Sussex she's named Eleanor. The Speckled Sussex's are named after the Dashwood Sisters.  We have three Marans and they are named from the book Persuasion - Anne, Louisa and Henrietta.

This morning Rachel is in love with this Cochin named Violet.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Catching Up

I feel like I rarely post anymore.  It's not really true but I so miss doing a daily post!

That said, I thought I would share some photos and catch up with you all.

There is so much going on this summer.  Usually we have very laid back weeks, but this summer feels like a marathon.  There has been fun times along with the challenging ones, and I am grateful for both.  It is a blessing to come alongside friends and help share their burdens.

Yesterday Rachel and I made up a tea basket with scones, cream, Orange Irish Marmalade, mugs, a variety of teas, and took them to the Hospitality Lane folks at the hospital.  We figured they needed something other than hospital food, and what's better than tea and scones?

My friend Jen and I are taking my mom and our girls out on a shopping trip today.  Our friends and my mom have never been to Charming Charlie's or Anthropologie.  We may even stop at Terrain!  What a great day it's going to be - oh and I may need a stop at Trader Joe's!

We have just under 7 weeks until Nate and Kay's wedding!  We did some shopping for that yesterday too.  Here is a sneak peek at what Kamryn will be wearing.
She's the flower girl!

We will be starting school in about two weeks, and Tim will be officially full time in his own business on the same day, August 3rd!  I'll share the story of how this came about so quickly another day.  It's so exciting!

 We took Tim's mom to see Joseph at Sight and Sound when she was here.  She loved it.

 We've been enjoying the pool at Camp Geezer.  It's been HOT here!

 I love these sunny Rudbekia.  They are a summer staple at Creekside Cottage.

 The garden is starting to produce!  Our first tomato and pepper!

 I'm growing cantaloupe this summer!  They are doing really well!  This is very exciting!

We're eating delicious food this summer, too!

 Rachel's belated birthday gift for my mom.  She made it out of pallets.  I did the hand lettering, but she painted everything and built the sign.  I'll try to get a photo of the finished product!  My mom was so surprised!

 I love my girl...

 Slimming down...

Feeling contentment.

In thinking about this summer I am reminded of Psalm 37:23 - 
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way."

 How is your summer going?

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Every month Rachel bakes the bread for communion.  It is a beautiful gift to our church fellowship.

I love communion as it is a physical reminder of Jesus' sacrifice - the ultimate sacrifice - of His life for mine.

I am so thankful to belong to the ONE who holds the future in His hands.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Chadd had a long surgery yesterday, the doctor finding a bowel perforation.  Today they are hoping to get him off the ventilator.

The local paper says that the state police have determined that Chadd drifted over the double yellow line on a curve and struck the other car.  We do not know why though.  The other car was being driven by a 78 year old woman who was not wearing a seat belt.

Sigh.  So much heartache.  

I don't know when they will tell Chadd, but it will devastate him.  Chelsea is struggling, please continue to pray for them.

Here is a link to Chelsea's mom Becky's blog.

God had His hand all over Chadd's survival in this crash, we KNOW He has a plan.  

Please join us in praying for them and for the family of the other driver.

Friday, July 17, 2015

God Holds Our Lives In His Hands

We know this to be true.  But sometimes it is merely mental agreement, we don't know this through experience.

We all jump in our cars every day, drive around, comment on bad drivers, impatient people etc, but how often do we really consider God's hand on us?

Yesterday there were two car accidents close to where we live.  The first one, was up at the corner of our side street.  Right outside Nate and Kay's house.  She heard it and called 911.  There were five cars involved and someone was trapped in their car.

You can read about it here.

Rachel and I were out running errands when it happened, but we had just left Nate and Kay's house 10 minutes before this happened.
After we got back, I was mowing the property and we got word that at nearly the same time as this first accident, a head on collision took place on another road near us that we travel frequently.

Our friends at Hospitality Lane have been celebrating the engagement of their daughter Chelsea to her beloved Chadd.  In fact, Chelsea blogged their engagement story yesterday.  In the afternoon Chelsea's dad got a call from their friend who was with the local fire company telling him that Chadd had been in this accident.  

Word went out to pray, they had to life flight him to the hospital, he had a severed artery in his leg.  We didn't know if he'd lose his leg or not.  So many things happened yesterday that showed God's hand on Chadd, even though He allowed this accident to happen. Two quick things - there was a nurse midwife who stopped to help, and she was able to apply pressure on Chadd's leg, and the life flight helicopter had been called in for the other accident and was en route, but they determined that Chadd's injuries were more serious and they diverted the flight for him.  The accidents were maybe 3 miles apart.  Both of these things helped keep Chadd alive, as time was so critical for him.  Minutes made the difference. The doctors were able to save his leg!

You can read more at Hospitality Lane.

Yesterday was a powerful reminder that God holds us in His hands, and even when bad things happen, He is working His plan for our lives, for our ultimate good.  He wants us to know Him in all situations.

Please pray for Chadd and Chelsea.  This is one of those "for better or for worse" moments.  They are trusting God and thankful for all the prayer and support they received yesterday.

UPDATE - Chadd is headed to surgery this morning so they can find the source of extra fluid in his pelvic area.  This is causing his heart rate to be high.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Few Days Away

We got Tim's mom on her flight home, and headed out for a few days away.

Tim is taking a certification course for septic inspections(doesn't that sound fun?), and I am along because he wanted my company!  Yay, me!

Two nights away in a nice hotel?  Time to myself?

Win - Win.

It's the perfect recharge that I need.  We'll be starting school in a few weeks, Nate and Kayleigh get married in 8 weeks, Tim is making changes with work (more on that later).  After these few days, I'll be good to go.  At least that's my plan.

Monday, July 13, 2015

English Country Dancing

I've mentioned before that I taught the kids and some adults at church to do English Country Dancing.  Yesterday they wanted to dance again, so they cleared the chairs and danced after lunch.

I'm the caller and I tried to get video and some photos while calling.  That is why on the 'reel' dances the dancers are very close to the camera at first!

 Friends dancing together, siblings dancing together, moms dancing with sons, dads dancing with daughters, husbands and wives dancing with each other.  

Lots of fun!

Thursday, July 9, 2015


A certain girl, full of joy, is going to be 13 in a few days.  She told me that she'd like to get a haircut.  Now, its important to know that she has really long hair - past her waist.

She and I went today and got our haircut.

 They cut 16 inches off!  We are looking into Locks of Love.

 I took my photo late this evening, thus the grainy photo.  I like it.  Natural curls, some layers, equals a fun summer haircut.


  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...