Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Friday, April 28, 2017

April Showers Bring

Such beauty!

We've had days of rain, and now warm weather and sunshine.  

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Salted Caramel Cashew Bars (low carb)

I don't know if I shared one of the best low carb treats that I have ever made.  They are called Salted Caramel Pecan Bars.  A gal on the Trim Healthy Mama FB board shared this recipe.  I tried it and it was amazing!  She gave Jennifer from A Home with Purpose permission to share the recipe, and here is the link for Salted Caramel Pecan Bars.

My only issue with this recipe is that toasting the pecans was tricky.  She mentions that in the recipe.  I was careful and watched them but sometimes, I felt like they over toasted and the bars weren't as tasty.

One day I had the idea to chop up some deluxe roasted cashews instead of toasting the pecans.  It was pure genius for several reasons!  They taste better and I don't have to roast the nuts so this recipe is even quicker to make!


The recipe calls for using THM sweeteners but you can use whatever low carb sweetener you prefer - Truvia, Pyure, xylitol, etc...Just use this handy dandy conversion chart.

Here is a great article about the different sweeteners from Wholesome Yum.

If you try these bars, I hope you'll let me know what you think!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Do You Have Time To Chat?

I have a lot of random thoughts this morning so I thought it was time for a chat.  Brew some tea, pour some coffee and let's settle in and catch up.

I laughed to myself yesterday, when several of you brilliantly said, "can't you just do two vases of lilacs?"  Of course I can, and I will!  My lilacs are full this year!  Isn't it funny how we just don't think of certain things?

My grandbabies are growing up.  



A BIG happening this summer is my nephew is getting married in California.  My brothers' family lives in the Long Beach area, so we thought the wedding would be in that area.  Instead the wedding is being held in Central California, very near to a sweet blog friends' home.   I think it is very nice of my nephew and his gal to make it convenient for us to meet up!  And this dear gal has opened her home to us to stay with her!  She's swell!  Rachel, Sarah, and I are going out for the wedding, and Emma and Vinnie are coming with Isla.  We are all going to stay with this friend!  

My parents will be going out early and spend a week in Monterrey celebrating their 58th wedding anniversary!  I think Lindsay and Joseph might fly out too, but not sure of what their exact plans are. But it's going to be lots of fun!  We are so happy to be able to celebrate my nephew and his bride!

Aren't they cute?

The business is going well.  We do need to buy a truck and trailer to be able to haul water to some of the inspections.  We'd like to not have to get a loan to do it, and so we are praying for God's exact provision of what we need.  Will you pray with us, too?  We are also praying for more inspections that Tim is not subcontracting, so that we are not so dependent on our friend's company to provide our work.  This is happening, as Tim is making lots of contacts, and getting calls for his own inspections.  This means we get the full fee.  We'd love to see our business grow and expand!

We have 11 days left in our homeschool year!  I'm excited and so are the kids!  Another year almost done.  When we start back in August, I'll be in my 23rd year of homeschooling and I'll have a 10th grader, a 7th grader, and Kamryn will be a 1st grader!

I guess that's all for today.  Thanks for listening!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Lilacs In The Kitchen

 I went out this morning to cut lilacs. Its been raining off and on for several days and they were wet, but oh, so fragrant.

 I have two lilac bushes - one right outside the kitchen door, and one at the back of the house near the peony bushes.  I cut these from the one at the back of the house, since I more often cut from the one by the kitchen door.

 I'm delighted in how beautifully the lilacs are blooming this year.

 I love having fresh flowers in the house, too.

They add real beauty.

Now to decide.  Do I leave them at the kitchen sink or put them on the kitchen table.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Seeing Beauty In Every Day Things

I opened the dishwasher to put the clean dishes away, and I was struck by the beauty of the colors.  I grabbed my phone and snapped a quick picture.  

I want to always be able to see beauty in ordinariness.

I love to do things in my home that speak beauty to those of us who live here.  Sometimes, its a matter of changing things around, so on Saturday, while it rained outside and Tim and Kyle were helping my dad with a project, I played.  I made a wreath for over my bed - 

so I could bring the watercolor painting of Williamsburg out to the living room.  Soon I'll be bringing out the navy blue pillow shams and changing the look of the bed.

I cooked, I cleaned, I cut lilacs for the table. 

Small things.

Ordinary things.

 When we do these things in our homes, we are loving our families, the guests who come, and ourselves.  We are providing an atmosphere of beauty, love, and welcome.

Kyle asked me on Friday, why I like to mow the grass.  I answered him, "Because I like to make it look nice."

It satisfies a need in my heart to beautify my surroundings.

I hope that you find beauty in your everyday life and in ordinary things.

Friday, April 21, 2017

How I'm Dealing With Stress In My Life

Now to be clear, I don't have a stress filled life.  I'm not running from thing to thing or driving kids everywhere, working outside the home, have illness, troubled kids or a difficult marriage.

But I have been dealing with some underlying stressors. For me I get stressed about things that I can do nothing about. By nature I'm a fixer, when there is an problem or a crisis I am built to jump in and help out.  However, most of the time it has not been given to ME to fix, and so I've needed to learn to let things go, and leave them in God's hands.

For me to destress and let things go, I've learned the following things that work for me.

1. I need to talk it out.  Tim often gets to hear all about 'something' several times.  Its how I process.  Once I get it all talked out, its done and I can move on and let things go.  Its amazing how this works for me.  

2. I pray.  God made me with the gifts and abilities I have, and He wants me to talk with Him about the things that are weighing on me.

3. I have to remind myself that just because I care about someone or some issue, doesn't mean that everything is my business.  God will definitely prompt me when He wants me to speak, or help out in someway.  Otherwise, its none of my concern. (other than to pray)

4. I am mindful of my social media usage.  Enough said.

5. I try to do this -

These things work for me when I feel stressed, and I hope they are be helpful for you! 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

What I'm Currently Reading

I took this photo when I was sitting out on my deck earlier this week.  The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze blowing and I was not only savoring the weather, I was savoring this story of the Eliots of Damerosehay.

I know the characters well, but not at this stage of their lives because I have read this trilogy backwards!  I first found book three, The Heart of The Family, at an antique store for $2.00  I didn't know it was part of a trilogy, I'd just been looking for books by Elizabeth Goudge on recommendation from Brenda.  

A year later I found the second book, Pilgrim's Inn, at a used book store.  A few months ago, I bought this one online.  

Here is a synopsis of this book - 

"Introducing the beloved trilogy that has captured the hearts and imaginations of the many fans of bestselling author Elizabeth Goudge. "The Bird in the Tree "takes place in England in 1938, and follows a close-knit family whose tranquil existence is suddenly threatened by a forbidden love . . . . Matriarch of the family, Lucilla, has spent a lifetime making the Hampshire estate of Damerosehay a haven for the Eliots. When her favorite grandson, David, falls in love with a woman who belongs to another, Lucilla sees her most cherished ambitions put at risk. But can she persuade David and Nadine to put duty before love? Discover why so many have already fallen in love with this favorite of Goudge novels.

Have you read this series or any others by Goudge?  When I bought my book online, CBD, was having a sale.  Almost half price per book and free shipping, so I bought several other titles by Elizabeth Goudge, so basically I bought four books for the price of two.

The other titles I bought are The Rosemary Tree, The Scent of Water, and Towers in the Mist.

Do you enjoy books and reading?  What are you currently reading?  Who is your favorite author?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


I went to the store the other evening and coming home around 8:00 there was a beautiful sunset.  This does not capture the colors well, because I stopped and took the photo with my phone.

I love seeing sunrises and sunsets because they remind me that God is in control, and that He provides beauty for us everywhere, and all we have to do is have eyes to see it.

I hope you have a lovely day.  We are off for breakfast, then I am helping Lindsay to shop for a desk.  We have our last business class tonight as well.

I hope you make time to today to watch the sunset, be reminded of our great God, who does all things well.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Low Carb:Kentucky Butter Cake

Low Carb Kentucky Butter Cake is an amazing dessert.  I used the recipe that Carolyn at All Day I Dream About Food has developed.  I did make one change, though I used 2 cups of Trim Healthy Mama Baking Blend in place of the Almond and Coconut flours.

I'm sure the nut flours will bake up perfectly in this recipe (everyone is raving over it), I just am trying to get back to weight loss mode, so for me the baking blend was the way to go.

I only made one dessert for Easter and this was it.  I baked it like a sheet cake rather than in a bundt pan, and it turned out perfectly.  Everyone loved this dessert!

Carolyn also shares a low carb caramel sauce that I made and served with it and its incredible!

To top it off I sliced strawberries and I always whip cream and put a bit of xylitol in it.  (A word of caution about xylitol if you have pets that eat your food.  Don't use it!  Dogs especially cannot digest xylitol and it can be fatal for them)

If you are eating a low carb diet, you'll adore this dessert!  If you are following Trim Healthy Mama this is an S dessert, and you'll adore it, too!

If you'd like to find more low carb desserts follow my THM - Desserts board on Pinterest!

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Beautiful Day

What a lovely day we had. The weather was amazing - we had a high of 83 degrees and a lovely breeze, we ate good food, and everyone had a good time.

Kyle and Kamryn did a kid egg hunt first!

Then it was time for the big kids!

My bookends.

We were so busy enjoying ourselves that we forgot a group photo! Mom and Dad were here, Nate, Kay and the girls, Lindsay and Joseph, and our friend Denny.  We ate ham, potato salad, baked beans, green bean casserole, fruit salad, and deviled eggs.  For dessert I made a low carb Kentucky Butter Cake, made the low carb caramel sauce linked in the recipe, and had strawberries and whipped cream with it!  Everyone loved it!  Lindsay made some oreo truffles, but I had enough of my own treats that I was able to eat on plan all day!

Lindsay worked with her horse Sandy and rode for several hours.  Kamryn got to ride as well.  Sarah shot her bow, there was a lot of baby holding, and just enjoying being together.  I'm thankful for the way my kids enjoy each other, and the grandbabies, and while we missed Emma, Vinnie and Isla, I was happy to hear of plans being made by Lindsay and Joseph, to spend part of their vacation visiting them this summer.  It also involves being where the total solar eclipse is going to be scene this summer.  Have you heard about this?

I hope that however you spent your day, that you did so knowing the Joy of our Resurrected Savior! He is fully worthy of praise!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

He Is Risen!

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly[b] perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’

Luke 24:1-7

Thankful for the Resurrection and what it means for us!  That we will be raised to new life, too!

Sneak Peek At The Breakfast Tables

Every year, on Easter morning, our church family meet up by the pond at a local park.  We sing, we read scripture and we rejoice in the resurrection.

Then we head over to church and have breakfast together.  I decorate and set the tables, and this is what I've done for this year.

I've set six tables, for 48 people.

At home I'm planning for 13 plus baby Klaire.  I'm working on the same color scheme, too.  Very pretty for spring and Easter.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A New Life Story

Remember how I was boo hooing over my lilacs, and how I was sure that due to their early budding, and then our deep freeze for a week, that I was going to get no lilacs?

Well, that turned out not to be true!  My lilacs have sprung to life! I couldn't believe it last week when I realized that they were going to be blooming, and this week they've started.

I thought that was kind of appropriate for Easter week.  Beauty for ashes, that is just what God gives us as a gift from the death and resurrection of Jesus.  

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Easter Preparations

Its kind of amazing that this is Easter week!  I am getting all the plans made for food - who is bringing what - with the family that will be here.

I'm also planning out my table decor.  Last year, we did a long tablescape and we all loved it.

I want to do something similar to this again this year, but I'm going with blue and white napkins, so that whatever I do will be tied in with those colors.

We are going to have ham, green bean casserole, fresh fruit salad, potato salad, deviled eggs.  Simple basic foods that we all like.

The kids will likely do an egg hunt.  With just Kyle and Kamryn, and maybe Klaire, that won't take long.  Maybe this year we'll do an adult egg hunt! 

I will definitely be making some on plan candies for myself so I can avoid temptation.

I'm responsible for the decor at our church's breakfast Easter day as well, so I am pulling together those items, too.

I like to have it all done so that I can slow down and remember why we are celebrating -  God's plan to redeem mankind.  What a beautiful gift He's given us.  It cost Him to save us, but it is a gift freely given.

What are your plans for Easter?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Scrapbook Journals

A sweet blogging friend, Jewels, got many of us started on these scrapbook type journals.  A place to jot down a to do list, a bible verse, a quote, and to do it amongst beautiful pictures.

I'd gotten away from it, but had been wanting to get back to it.  Yesterday, I sat out on my deck, in the beautiful weather, and worked on a few pages.

Do you journal?  Have you ever made a scrapbook journal?

ps- I wanted to tell you all that I contacted Netflix through their FB page.  I went to the support tab and then clicked on live chat.  It took two minutes to make my view known, and I think that if more people did that, they would know that people are paying attention to their programming.

The New Netflix Anne Shirley....

Is NOT my Anne Shirley.

Warning!  This is not a scene from the book or from the original Anne Of Green Gables movie.  It is from Netflix.  Before you click the play button please make sure your children are not within hearing of this.

I'm angry.

I'm sharing this only because I want to warn people.  Many people will let their kids watch this thinking it will be like the books or the Kevin Sullivan movie, starring Megan Follows.  It is not.

I will be contacting Netflix to complain, and also to ask that they give a warning to parents regarding content.

We will not be watching this version.

Friday, April 7, 2017

So, I've Started A New Blog

For years I have been mentoring and encouraging homeschool moms that I have contact with, but I wanted to be able to reach beyond my own circle of friends and acquaintances with encouragement and help.

There is so much out there vying for homeschool moms attention and it is easy to be overwhelmed with making good decisions for their own families, when they see all the amazing things that others are doing.

This blog will be about remembering the important things, about building relationships with our children, about reading aloud, and learning styles.  

There is so much I want to share.

I hope in the near future to be able to do podcasts, too.  

Come check out the blog at and please share the blog with homeschooling families you may know or even just moms with young children.

I'm excited to about this opportunity to encourage and mentor young families.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

I've Been Taking A Business Class

For the past three weeks, Tim and I have been attending a class on Wednesday evenings.  It is put on by SCORE .  This class is intended for people looking to start a business, but there are a few of us who already have a business, but are looking to learn more.  

Every Wednesday the kids go to frisbee, then Kyle leaves there with friends and goes to Awana.  We go to our class.  Yesterday was a beautiful day, so we went to dinner before our class.  It was so nice out we sat outside to eat.  We tried a place in the city right across from Franklin & Marshall college.  It was called Fresh Farms Cafe.   It was very good, and Tim and I talked about a potential business idea I've been mulling over.

The people in our class are so interesting with their business ideas.  The ladies in front of me are starting a floral design business, and the two couples who sit in front of them have a custom furniture/wood products business and a heating and air conditioning business.  

This photo was from the from our first week.  Last night we talked about Marketing.

This class has helped us see what we are doing right, what we need to work on (marketing), and to make goals for the business.

Our two main goals when we started our business were about margin - both financial and time.  We have achieved those in some ways, but need to build up the financial margin.  

We need to buy a truck and trailer for the business, and since we are not fans of debt, we've never had a loan (other than our mortgage) before.  We are praying about it, and one of the two remaining classes will touch on this very thing.

It's a hard, but amazing thing.  I wish we'd started when we were in our twenties, but I am thankful to be walking this path now.

Do any of you have your own business or a family business?


  We are finally getting some blue skies with real clouds, and sunshine! I took sometime with Kyle and Kamryn's help to set up the deck ...