Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Home Keeping: Cleaning and Organizing

I've been making good progress in the basement of our sweet cottage, clearing out the old stuff that's been stored for many years without being used.  Not everything went, but a lot did, and that makes me glad.

Yesterday, I tackled another area that needed sorting.  I do the three piles method - Keep, Give Away, Trash.  It works for me.

This is part of my storage closet that Tim build for me years ago.  This half of it holds my decorating items as well as dishes and bakeware that I don't use regularly.  The dishes are mostly seasonal, but I have glass luncheon plates and a punchbowl and cups that I keep to use for teas and other parties.

 Its pretty chaotic here.  Part of the reason is that I'm not always the one putting things away.  I have elves that help me, and I'm happy for their help, but they don't always put things away the way that I would.

I pulled most things off the selves and sorted them into piles.  These are items that I am keeping.

 These are give away stuff (Kay came and took most of the glass plates and bowls) and Kyle is grabbing the trash items.  He came down to help me after I was finished with the shelves.

It may not look much different but I can tell that things are organized and tidy.  Seasonal items are together, items I don't want small children to touch are on higher shelves.  I was up and down my step stool many times, and later that day my back protested!
 I'm really happy with the results.  Next week I hope to tackle the other side of this closet.  Its where my pantry storage is and the upper shelves have some random items.  This side won't take as long to sort, thankfully!

Are you working on any projects this summer?  Let's talk in the comments!  I am going to start responding in the comments as so many ladies are 'no-reply commentors.'  This means that your settings keep me from being able to email you after you comment.

Here is a link to instructions on how you can change your settings if you want to.  

The Winner Is....

16 names

 The bowl...

 My handy dandy assistant, who raised the bowl for more dramatic effect...


I'm so happy for you, Elizabeth, and delighted to send mail to the UK! Elizabeth has a sweet blog called Small Moments.  You should visit her there!

Elizabeth, if you will please send me your contact information, I'll get this sweet towel into the post for you!

I wish I had tea towels and funds in super abundance to send one to you all!

I have mowing to do this morning before the temps climb up.  We've enjoyed lovely days with the A/C off and its amazingly cool out right now.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tea Towel Giveaway!

I've been reflecting on how sweet the friendships are here on the blog.  All the visits, page views, and comments are appreciated and I hope the the goals of Hospitality, Friendship, and Encouragement are being met here daily as you visit.

So I've decided that I need to show you my thanks in a tangible way so I've decided to have a giveaway!

You may remember that when Rachel and I spent the day together on her birthday, we went into a small but sweet kitchen store and I bought a set of three tea towels.

I kept the strawberry one 

the blueberry one is winging its way to Maine

and the raspberry one is going to one of YOU!

All you have to do is leave a comment here today, and tomorrow I'll draw the name of the winner.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Picnic Supper

 Our weather has been beautiful.  A few pockets of heat, but overall very nice.  Today was especially great and I spent most of the day on the deck.  

I'm really enjoying this space this year.  The deck is not really nice, its old and needs to be replaced, but that's a job for another year.  So I have made it the nicest space I can with what I have to work with.

 The benches are the ones we used to use at our kitchen table.  We no longer needed them at the kitchen table every day, so i moved the outside to the deck.  The other bench is parallel to the table and provides nice seating.

I also have my red metal chairs that I painted.  You can read about that here.  But we also bought two other red chairs at Christmas Tree Shops!

 They are really nice chairs and a good price!  I bought them to use to sit across the creek under the trees, but they work well on our deck, too!

I bought some patriotic bunting at Christmas Tree Shops a few weeks ago.  I'm enjoying them out on the deck.  I think they add a festive element to this space.

Because the weather was so nice, and we had some foods left over from yesterday, I cooked up some chicken tenderloins and we had a nice picnic supper on the deck this evening.  

Chicken, salads, and fruit.  It was delicious!

Ree Drummond's dishes made the table even more welcoming!

Do you like to eat meals outside?  Have any of you enjoyed a picnic supper this summer?

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Bit Of This and That

I'm sending happy mail today.  One is this darling tea towel to our sweet Maine friend, and one is some flower seeds from my garden.

Yesterday, we had sweet friends over after church.  This family is precious to us, and we always enjoy time with their busy, happy bunch!

Emma riding the horse and baby Rebecca are the youngest in the family.  Aren't they sweet?

Their kids have grown up right alongside our youngest kids.  Kyle is in between the ages of their two oldest, both boys.  They always enjoy time together.

Sarah was away all week at a youth conference in South Carolina, and arrived home yesterday.

She was full of excitement and chatter.  I'm happy to have her home.

We have beautiful weather today, and I am looking forward to a good week.

What's your week look like?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Romantic Cottage Flowers In The Garden

When we bought our cottage 15 years ago, it had no garden or trees around the house.  The only trees were across our creek - away from the house.

Tim patiently plowed up the rock hard soil in the front of the house - where their was one garden bed - empty - and he also made me another garden bed on the other side of the front walk.  This later was enclosed by the picket fence and arbor and my friend shared many of her beautiful perennials with me.

Over time, I have bought more flowers, and developed my own gardening style.  This garden space has become a true cottage garden over the years.  Its not orderly at all!

I really love that the wildness of this garden, has cut down on weeds.  I have been able to keep up with it myself this year!  So many of these flowers self seed and come back year after year!

The milder winter was kinder to my hydrangea.  I'm very happy about that.

Today I came out into the garden and cut some larkspur, hydrangea, gooseneck loosestrife, (this plant is outside of this garden space)  purple coneflower, feverfew, and a lovely lily.  

I think it looks lovely and makes doing dishes a delight being able to look at these wonderful flowers!

Have a Happy Weekend!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

What I've Been Doing This Week (Fun Report Ahead)

We had a very nice Father's Day.  Good food and fun, our friends arrived for the week, too, and we've been enjoying our time together.

 We had some rain, and it cut the humidity so I am a happy girl.  Beautiful sunny days, and blue skies with puffy clouds.  Perfect!

We attended a wonderful outdoor baby shower on Tuesday evening.  Lovely hydrangea from the garden, sweet gifts for the mama to be.

Yesterday, three friends and I, got together and had tea, at a lovely tea house.  It was an afternoon to share and encourage each other. 

The garden is growing beautifully!

Tonight we get to go see Jonah at Sight and Sound, thanks to the generosity of friends who get free tickets!  Thanks Warren and Becky!

I never intended to not blog this week, but its been busy, we had some computer issues and I am just enjoying my dear, dear friends.

Tomorrow our friends leave, so I'll be back on the blogging track.  I hope you are all well, and I'll get back around to your blogs soon.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

What Are You Doing This Weekend?

Today, I'll be mowing - I did it on Monday, and should have done it again on Thursday but we were busy and yesterday we had friends over for a play date.  Kamryn's friend Trinity came for birthday cupcakes and fun, and her older brothers came and played with Kyle.  We let them eat cupcakes, too!  They are great kids and we had a good afternoon!  Their mama and I had a great time visiting, too!  Fun times!

Sarah had gone with her bff Laura, who happens to be our son in law Joseph's sister, to an art gallery.  They were celebrating Laura's birthday.  They had lunch out, too.  Sarah had so much fun.  They got back and spent time with our guests and when Laura left, I took Sarah to a party with her co-op friends.

Tim's had a busy week of work, and has a few things planned for today.  He's going to weed wack along the creek and all the places I can't get with the mower, and he's getting a load of hay today.  Otherwise it will be a more relaxed weekend for him, and I'm glad.  
Tomorrow is Father's Day.  Sarah leaves in the morning for a youth retreat - she's SO excited, and besides celebrating the Dad's in our family - we will be anticipating the arrival of our longtime bff's.  They are both retired now and spend the summers visiting family and friends.  They bought a camping trailer, and spend a good bit of time with their grands in New Hampshire.  We usually get them for a solid week around Labor Day, but this year, we get them for a week now and around Labor Day!  We are very happy about this!

Thank you for your kind thoughts on yesterday's post.  Dotsie mentioned that this general grief (due to all the tragedy in the world) is "in the background" of our lives now.  I think this is true.

I hope you have a delight-filled weekend.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Low Level Grief - Is There Such A Thing?

Or is it all just grief?  

Last week a friend of ours died. Barb was the wife of a work friend of Tim's, named Caleb.  Fellow believers, they became good friends over the years, and Tim and the kids would help him with taking trees down, or mowing when they were on vacation.  We've known them for many years.  Caleb has been dealing with limitations after a stroke a year and a half ago, but hearing that Barb went to be with the Lord, was such a surprise.  She got a viral infection that went to her brain and was gone in a few months time.

This week we got word that another longtime, dear friend, from our early married days had a massive heart attack and died.  He has dear wife, two kids who are married and two teenagers still at home.  We were not expecting that.

Then their has been the terror attacks in Britain, the fire that took many lives in London, the terrible attack on our congressmen.

I have gone about my life these last two weeks, busy as usual, being present for my family, shopping for curtains with my daughter, celebrating my granddaughter's birthday - and while I have been living my normal life other people - some who I care about very much - their lives have been changed forever.

I have for a many years lived my life knowing that 'you never know what a day may bring' and that we should live the lives God gave us to live, knowing that HE knows the days that are prepared for us. (Psalm 139:16)  One day, my life will be changed by the loss of parents or a child or my husband, or they will be dealing with the loss of me. It's so important to know where you will spend eternity.

So, grief.  It is present in my life in way that it wasn't two weeks ago, though I feel like it has become a normal part of life now.  Not in a debilitating way, but just more aware that the world is groaning in pain, and that in these days of instant news, we are so aware of every tragedy.

I am praying more than ever these days, and that is a good thing that has come from such events in the world, that we are living through.

I know that God is in control.  I know that since I belong to Him nothing comes my way that He does not allow, and that He uses all things to bring us into closer relationship with Him.

Matthew 11:28-30 says - "Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry."

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Happy Birthday Kamryn!

Can you believe my granddaughter is seven today?

Me, either!

 She had a big year!  She gained a girl cousin and a baby sister in the space of 24 hours last fall!  

She's a great girl.  Bright, sweet, strong-willed, loving, loyal, tenderhearted.

Kamryn, I love you so much.  Happy, Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


The cottage garden at midnight.

How are things blooming in your garden?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Demo Days and Dreaming Of Plans

Our very good friends, who moved to New York state about five years ago for work, have moved back home to Pennsylvania!  To say we are excited is an understatement!

They found a great property, but the house needed to be gutted.  Don is a visionary and knew it could be a great house, but it would require some sacrifice on all their parts.  So right now while the 'Demo' phase is happening, they are living in camping trailers on their property.

Saturday, we took the kids and went to help out.  When I say we helped out I mean that Tim, Kyle and Sarah helped them with the actual physical labor!

The task for the day we were there was to clean up after all the demo that had been taking place.  They got that place totally cleared out!  Amazing!

This house was originally built as a hunting/get away home, and over the years it was added on to.  It has very low ceilings, too. The next step is to build up the foundation, so all the rooms are even (some are a step down or up), and then to remove the roof, to raise the walls so the ceilings will be 9 feet instead of 6 feet 9 inches!  

The plans for the house are to keep the existing footprint and have a nice three bedroom home with an open concept for the living room, kitchen and dining space.

The home has some beautiful bones in the landscaping and a lovely flagstone patio, and some stone garden walls.  All of this will be kept, but some work is required as the plantings are all overgrown!

These girls have been friends for 12 years this summer!  I was expecting Kyle when our families became friends!  Now we are 'family.'

 This kid is learning to work hard, too!

While they were accomplishing all this physical labor, we ladies were walking the property discussing which trees will stay, which need to go, plans for future projects outdoors, and looked at the house plans and talked and dreamed of colors, and decor, and all that kind of fun stuff.  

We also made sure there was plenty of food and drink to keep everyone energized.

As a family we are so happy to be a part of helping our friends make a new home back in Pennsylvania!

Welcome home, friends!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Metal Chairs Makeover!

I bought two metal chairs the day I was out with Rachel for her birthday.  They were dark green, and a bit rusty.

They definitely needed a makeover!

I love how they look!  

This is what I used. This easily covered that dark green, and I have a bit of the paint leftover.

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...