Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Friday, April 29, 2016

Photo Friday

So, I think I'm going to try to do a photo on Fridays, with minimal chatter.

First up is this 

I could hear this guy calling half way down the block, as Rachel and I came out of the organic salon where I get my haircut.  I said to Rachel "that's a peacock!"  You can tell because they sound like Kevin from "Up."

Then I spotted him so we drove up past the house where he was.  He was pretty worked up - didn't see any peahens or anything, but when we stopped to take his photo - he shook his whole body at us!  Lol! We were properly impressed! 

Peacocks have such beautiful coloring, don't they?

So, have you ever seen a peacock in person?  I've seen them before but this was the funniest experience!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pillowcases On The Bed

A few readers asked if I would show the pillowcases, that I made, on the bed.

Here they are - 

Sometimes I do a third pillow with white lacy pillowcases, but I think I may have had them in the wash!

You can see how my friend used her birthday pillowcases here.

Have you ever made pillowcases?

I'm joining Thoughts Of Home on Thursday.  You should check it out - lots of great links.  There are so many creative women in the blogging world!  Very inspiring!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Reluctant Duchess (Bethany House Book Review)

I don't know if you read much Christian Fiction, but Roseanna M. White is a really good author.  I first discovered her while reading her first book in the Ladies of the Manor series called, "The Lost Heiress," which I reviewed here.

This book picks the up the story from the previous book, though you could read this one without reading that one first, but why? :)

Here is what the publisher says about this book - 

Lady Rowena Kinnaird may be the heiress to a Highland earldom, but she's never felt good enough--not for her father, not for the man she thought she'd marry, not for God. But after a shocking attack, she's willing to be forever an outcast if it means escaping those threatening her life.

Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, has never been one to shy away from manor-born ladies, yet the last thing he needs is the distraction of the newly introduced Lady Rowena. He has enough on his plate having recently come into possession of a rare treasure for which many would kill, yet those around him seem intent on pairing him with this desperate but beguiling girl.

Rowena is reluctant to marry this notorious flirt. And when she learns that Brice is mixed up in some kind of questionable business with a stolen treasure, she fears she'll end up in more danger than she fled.

In this book, the author deals with some difficult subjects (physical abuse, verbal abuse, and rape) without having the readers experience them while they happen.  We know they've happened through the emotions that Rowena deals with, her memories of certain events, and the way that these things have shaped her thoughts about herself.  Mrs. White handles these difficult subjects very carefully, but I would say that they could be triggers for those who've experienced this kind of abuse.

I enjoyed the fact that the character of the Duke of Nottingham is, while flirtatious socially, a strong Christian who has a close relationship to the Lord, and this in fact is how he chooses to marry Rowena.

There is also the ongoing story line of the Fire Eyes - Red Diamonds that some believe are cursed.  A brother and sister in Brice's social circle want these stones, believing that they have the right to them, and will stop at nothing to get them.  The sister ingratiates herself with Rowena (who feels sorry for her and recognizes one who grew up with abuse, also).  It's a story of redemption, and compassion.

At the climax of the book, Rowena's abusers both show up.  Rowena's father has come to warn them about her other abuser coming.  Rowena and her father have words about his treatment of her, I appreciated that the author allowed us insight into the situation, but didn't "make it all better."

This book series also has given us some upstairs/downstairs scenes, like in Downton Abbey, though not in equal measure as in Downton.

Sarah also read this book, and again she enjoyed it as well, and we had a lot of discussion about it!

I highly recommend this book and the other in this series.  The Roseanna M. White weaves the story lines with depth.  These are not lighthearted romance novels.  I can't wait for the next book in the series.  

Bethany House Publishers provided the book for me to review, but all the opinions are mine.  I received no other compensation.

Cover Art

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tea On Tuesday

Over the weekend my friend Jen took me to the Skaneateles Antique Center.  That's a fun place to poke around!

Almost right away I found something for Lindsay.  It is seriously 'her', and as soon as I give it to her, I'll show you here!  Its really neat.

Then I found a few tea cups.

First this delightful one with changing maple leaves and a Canadian flag, named "Canada."  My mother in law is Canadian and I thought it would be a sweet cup to have in her honor.

Then I found this one.  I almost didn't buy this one called "Orange Blossom", but I was really drawn to it.

It's also Royal Albert as you can see, but it's older, the porcelain is thinner.  I love the colors of it, and it was reasonably priced.  But, I argued with myself that I already had picked out a tea cup and was getting the tray for Lindsay.  I knew the other tea cup was 50% off, so it was very inexpensive.....I decided to treat myself to this one too!  When I went to pay, it was 20% off!  I was glad I had decided to get it!  I already know it's going to be a favorite cup of mine!

So I added to my collection this weekend.  I usually get tea things for Mother's Day, but I'm hinting for Annie Sloan paint brushes this year!

I'm joining a few favorite gatherings with this post -

Sandi - No Place Like Home

Bernideen - BTTCG

And a few new to me gatherings - 

Tuesday Cuppa Tea

Tea Cup Tuesday

Share Your Cup Thursday

I hope you'll join us!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Weekend Away

We had a wonderful time in the Finger Lakes Region of New York this weekend.

Our 'unrelated relatives' have lived in that area for 3 years now.  We have seen them down here where we live but we had never been able to get up to their place until this weekend!

We had an awesome time.

 We girls went to Skaneateles on Saturday for a few hours.  

 We enjoyed the sunshine and beautiful lake.

 We popped into a few of their favorite stores as well.  I found to really awesome tea cups, which I'll show you tomorrow!

 Jen is studying cosmetology and was willing to give Kyle a hair cut.  She'd never done a kid haircut and she did a great job!  Look at all that hair!

 Goofy face - handsome boy!

We spent some late nights talking, we actually did a ton of talking this weekend, it was so fun to share our lives and catch up with them.  We went to church on Saturday evening.  They are going to a really nice, growing church in Cortland, called Believer's Chapel.  We enjoyed it a lot!  Afterward we came home and ate and the kids had a nerf war and we talked some more!

Sunday morning was pancakes with their own maple syrup!  They have their own syrup business on their property!  You can find it at Westbrook Farm Maple and Hardwoods.

Then we went for a walk on their beautiful property.
 Do you see that blue tubing way back behind Tim and our friend Don?

 Here's more

 and here
The tubing runs over acres and acres and into bigger black tubing, and then down to where they process the syrup.  It takes 40 gallons of sap to get one gallon of syrup.  Our favorite is their dark amber.  It has such awesome flavor!  You can see photos on their Facebook page here!

It was a beautiful weekend and we are so thankful to have had this time with Don and Jennifer and their family.  Rachel said it well, 'they are unrelated relatives.' Don and Jen taught our girls to ride horses, and that is how we met.  That was about 12 years ago now.  We've been great friends ever since, and we are grateful to be known and to be loved for who we are.  That's the best kind of friendship.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tea With Friends

Yesterday, my mom and my good friend Jennifer went to tea!  We said it was to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's birthday, but spending time with friends over tea is always a good idea!

We had a lovely afternoon.  

Today we are heading out to visit friends in New York for the weekend.  We are excited.  Some of our married kids are housesitting for us.  We have two horses and 15 chickens that need to be cared for.  It works out since they have a big airsoft game planned here for Saturday.

I'll take lots of photos, and see you back here Monday.  Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Happy Birthday, Ma'am!

Today is Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday! In honor of her birthday, the Palace has released these wonderful photographs.

Here she is with her youngest grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  James, Viscount Severn (8) and his sister Lady Louise Windsor (12) they are the children of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Mia Tindall (2) daughter of Zara Phillips Tindall, Princess Anne's daughter, the Queen holding Princess Charlotte (11mths) daughter of Prince William the Duke of Cambridge and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, Savannah Phillips (5) daughter of Peter Phillips, Princess Anne's son, Prince George (2) son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Isla Phillips (4) daughter of Peter Phillps.

This photo is going to be a stamp.  Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, The Queen, Prince George of Cambridge, and Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge

The Queen and her only daughter, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal.

The Queen and her beloved Corgi's and Corgi mixes.

I've long admired the Queen for her commitment to her country and the nations of the Commonwealth.  She has been in their service since she was a girl, and became Queen at age 25, when she was the mother of two young children.

Happy Birthday, Ma'am!  May you have many more!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Coming Soon To Creekside Cottage

A much needed bathroom update!

We bought our cottage almost 15 years ago, and the basics in this bathroom have not changed.  I've changed my style, we no longer have 6 kids living here, we are down to three!  What?!  Time for an inexpensive update.

The following photos were taken at 2:00 pm on a mostly sunny day.
 There is no natural light in this room.  The wall color has changed a few times but other wise the shelves and the picket fencing have been up since we moved in.

 Those towels make so much visual clutter that I took them down so you could see the space better.  Just to the right of the light switches there used to be a door that went into what is now Rachel's bedroom, but was the master bedroom when this house was first built.  The people we bought the house from added a huge master suite on to the house, so we removed the door for a better flow of space in the bedroom.

Here is the room with the vanity lights on.
 With towels - 

 without towels.  

I am planning to paint the room a shade of white or cream, and to remove the picket fence and shelf.  We no longer need to have a lot of towel space, but I'm not sure yet what I will do about hanging towels.  Tim suggested that they could hang their towels in their own bedrooms, and that is a possibility.  This is not a huge space, so I have to consider carefully what I do bring in.  The vanity has storage space but we have a nice closet in this room, behind the door, and the vanity storage isn't really needed.  I am thinking I'd like to find an inexpensive pedestal sink which would visually open up the room.

We will get a new toilet in here, and I'm not sure what I'll do about this rack on the wall.  It's purely decorative, so it can go.  I want to change the mirror out too.

This room will be done in stages, and until we can replace the vanity, I will be painting that 80's oak with chalk paint.

We have big plans for the master bath but that will be a bigger project and will have to wait until we have a bigger savings.  We don't like to accrue debt, so we'll do these projects as we can.

I've been pinning a lot of inspiration.  I like farmhouse style, cottage style, but I like a bit of elegance, too.

I like the mirror and the mix of elegance (sink top and fixtures) with the rustic.

 I'm really drawn to this look of wood top and white vanity.  I'm going to change out our kitchen countertops to this look this summer!

All images are from my pinterest board.

I like lots of things about this photo.  Shiplap, interesting sink, great mirror - again rustic and elegant at the same time.

Pinterest is so great for inspiration!  But has anyone else noticed that the 'pin' button now says 'save?'  Why did they change it?  

I'm excited about working on these projects to update our home.  I may be opening a can of worms here but what do you think?  Likes, dislikes, things you learned during an bathroom update?  Let's talk!

Joining with Thoughts Of Home On Thursday.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Delightful Weekend

We've been having wonderful weather.  We are all enjoying the sunshine and blue skies.  I have some doors open this morning, and am hearing dozens of birds, and the sounds of the roosters crowing.

On Saturday I drove, with my mom, to a town about an hour away to shop at a Hobby Lobby store.  I've never been in one, can you believe it?!  We had so much fun looking at everything, and I found something that had been on my wish list for years.

 The clocks were 50% off!  So it was a win-win for me!  We do have a slight problem though.  It's five minutes slower on the hall side than the side that faces out to the living room!

I also found this darling wind chime, again 50% off.  It was really my day!

Saturday evening, dear friends who'd been out of state for four months due to work  and illness in their extended family, and were just home, came by for a visit!
 We'd missed each other as families so much.  Our girls are friends, our boys are friends, we adults are friends....well, you get the idea!  

On Sunday, we had communion and a fellowship meal.  In the late afternoon we all went to our pastor's home.  Mike and Jenny have a beautiful deck that overlooks a great little park - in fact it's almost as if the park is their backyard.  We had more food and fellowship, the kids played Ultimate and the little ones played at the playground.
 We all stayed into the evening.  It was so good to be outside again, enjoying the mild weather.  The sky was so clear last night.  We saw Jupiter gliding along with the moon, through the night sky, too.

And of course there was tea.  I drank Darjeeling.
 Here it is brewing in a delightful glass cup with a wooden saucer.

Today I am thankful for the blessing of this past weekend, and looking forward to this next one.  We'll be headed to upstate New York to visit our dear friends, who moved three years ago!  This is the first time we've been up to visit, and we are very excited!

Did you have a good weekend?  What's your week look like? 

Sharing with Bernideen's BTTCG
 Sandi for No Place Like Home
The Art Of Homemaking Mondays  


  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...