Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

A Grandma Outing

A month ago I got tickets to see Frozen Jr. which was being put on by Servant Stage Company's winter camp.  The show was this past Sunday.

The girls and I, with Kayleigh, went to see it in the afternoon.  It was so well done, and enjoyable.

Klaire, age 3, alternated between singing along to asking to watch videos on my phone. Kamryn, age 9, was very engaged and is interested in participating in shows.  She just might follow in her Auntie Sarah's footsteps!

We are blessed in Lancaster County to have really good local theater groups, including high schools, and great opportunities for theater camps.

It's so much fun.  Servant Stage Company's policy is that you pay what you can.  Their goal is to allow as many people as possible to have access to good theater.  Isn't that cool?

Here are a few photos (heavily edited) that I took of the girls during the show.

We were in the second to the last show, due to arriving close to starting time.  There was no one behind us so Klaire could stand to see better.  Most of the time she was on Mommy's lap!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Let's Chat

Hi friends!

Thank you all for your comments and prayers for my mom!  God abundantly answered.  There is NO cancer.

What was showing on the CAT scan as a tumor was a genetic anomaly called a Ureterocele.  She also has a small, fully functioning second left kidney that has full connection and drainage to the bladder.  This is what is connected to the Ureterocele.  The doctor said that he's never seen one in a person her age, because the smaller kidney usually will have issues earlier in life and they will remove it and the ureter connecting it to the bladder.  With nothing to drain into the Ureterocele it doesn't fill up or show up in the bladder.  For my mom, since she's never had an issue with it, there is no plan to remove anything.  Of course if she started to have issues he would do surgery.

We are praising God for this amazing answer to our prayers, and with no incisions etc, she has no recovery time!

I has such a busy day yesterday.  I took Sarah to work, ran some errands with Kayleigh and the girls, dropped the van off to Sarah at her work, met my parents and went to the surgery center.  

Took my parents home, Tim picked me up and we went home.  We ate some dinner and I headed out the door for a co-op planning meeting.

It was a good meeting, but I was really tired.  Got home around 10:00pm. I slept in this morning, and I'm so glad for the opportunity to do so! 

I'm nearly over my second cold of the season, which rarely happens to me.  I usually do not get sick very much.  Both times I have had an annoying cough, and fatigue.  No fevers though, so I have been very thankful for that.

I stayed home from church on Sunday, and was glad I did.  I needed the rest.  I watched two Alistair Begg sermons online.  He's such a good communicator and encourager.  

Well, I'm going to make some breakfast now, and gratefully eat it!  I've been reminded lately that we have so much to be grateful for and I want to at least mentally acknowledge that daily.  

Have a good day, and again, thank you for your prayers for my mom!

Friday, January 24, 2020

Prayer Request

Hi friends!

I hope you've had a good week.  I've got a cold again, but it hasn't kept me from doing the things I need to do each week.  Its just annoying.

That's not the prayer request, but if you think of me, I wouldn't mind.

However, on Monday my Mom is having surgery to remove a cancerous spot on her bladder.  It's outpatient surgery, and they will insert some chemo right into the bladder.

So, if you'll pray for her I'd be grateful.  They caught it early, she is not symptomatic and the outcome is good.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Garden: Dreaming Of My Cottage Garden

I ordered some flower seeds this week and that has got me dreaming of my cottage garden.

Here are some photos from last year.

I'm trying to get better at having flowers blooming earlier in the spring and also to have more 'filler' flowers growing.  I've got some amazing show stoppers (my hydrangea, peonies, roses) but I need things like stocks, and daisies, and zinnias.

I've got some new hollyhocks seeds on the way, and some calendula.  I wanted to buy some other seeds from a different company, but the order would have been over $30 with shipping.  So I just thought I would go to my local garden places and try to find some plants for these other flowers.

Are you garden dreaming yet?

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Wedding Planning: Cake

The cost of wedding cakes in our area is pricey.  When I was wedding planning with Lindsay 6 years ago, the average price per slice from bakeries in our area was $5.50-$6.00.  We had around 225 coming to the wedding and that would have cost $1,350 for cake.  That wasn't in the budget for cake, so we had a local baker (who charged less per slice) make a cutting cake, and the rest of the cake we served were sheet cakes from Costco.

Rachel likes the look of naked cakes, and she and Weston have decided that we can make them ourselves.  We tried it out on Saturday and they are right!  It's easy and tasty.

Also, there is family attending who are gluten free and dairy free, so we tried making one of these cakes with a gluten free cake mix from Aldi and we always make our own frosting, and for this one we made a dairy free version.  It turned out really good.

Naked cakes come in many different forms and I found these on Pinterest this morning.

Lemon Layer Cake with Fresh Berries | Free of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar


50+ Warm and Eye-catching Fall Wedding Ideas You Can't Resist!

#ClippedOnIssuu from Magnolia Rouge Weddings Issue 12

We are leaning toward the first one.  Also we are going to do a cake for every table! So each table will have their own cake to cut!  Those with Gluten and Dairy issues will get a slice from the specially make cake!  

We will use the budgeted cake money on mixes and start baking the cakes.  We'll wrap them well and put them in the freezer.  Then the day before the wedding, we'll get them out and that evening after the rehearsal we have a team of assemblers!  They'll get wrapped well and be kept in a cool space until their needed the next day!

We have some family and friends from out of town who want to help so they are being recruited to help assemble cakes.  It'll be fun, and we'll learn a lot I'm sure.

We are under 100 days until the wedding now.  The days are going fast!


Monday, January 20, 2020

Little Women

I wondered how I would like the most recent version of Little Women.  The cast was good, and the previews and what I heard from people I know sounded good, so Tim and I saw it while we were away for our anniversary.

I really liked it, and overall I think its my favorite version of this classic story.  I really enjoyed the way the movie started with the girls grown up (Jo is in New York City and Amy in France), and goes back to tell the whole story.  Its very well done, and I thought a very effective storytelling.

Saoirse Ronan is marvelous as Jo March.  She really communicates Jo's struggle with wanting to be independent and write, and the scene with Marme in the attic talking about all of this, and sharing her loneliness is powerful.  I liked that Professor Baer was not played as an old man, just older than Jo, too.  I like how her whole family sends her after him to the train station, and in fact the sisters go with her in Amy and Laurie's carriage.

I was unfamiliar with Florence Pugh who plays Amy, but I thought she was excellent.  She has a husky voice, which some people have said they didn't like for young Amy, but it didn't bother me.  She plays Amy as a determined young woman.  Amy realizes that the burden is on her to marry well to help the family, and she intends to do it.  

When she sees Laurie in France, she is set to marry Fred Vaughn if he asks her.  There is a scene where she is painting in a studio and talking with Laurie.  She is explaining that she realizes she's no great artist, and that she must marry well.  Laurie of course, falling in love with her doesn't want her to marry Fred Vaughn, but he hasn't made himself worthy of Amy yet.  So he goes to grandfather to begin to work hard as a man, and not a spoiled boy.  Amy is the making of Laurie into a man.

I didn't like Laura Dern as Marme.  I thought she didn't play Marme as a dignified person.  In one scene when Mr. Laurence comes to the house, she says "Don't mind our mess blah blah blah."  Marme would never have had a mess.  The girls were trained to keep a proper house, even if they didn't have money.  

I will say too, that a later scene showing Marme working with the poor upset me.  There is a free black woman working with her, and Marme says, "I've never been proud of my country."  Hmmm, where have we heard that before?

(Which lead me to have a conversation with Tim later about why people can't be proud of their country while being critical of certain aspects of their country.  I think a thinking person can recognize areas that their country has not done well, or has done very badly, but not assume those make up the whole country.)

I really loved the relationship between the sisters, and made me miss what I didn't have growing up.  I did have four little women of my own though, and its been sweet to see them grow up and to see  their relationships mature, as they become women.

The Little Women movie from 1994 will always have a place in my heart, but I do believe that overall this new one is my favorite.

What are your thoughts about the movie?  Have you seen it yet?

Friday, January 17, 2020

Friday Five

My Five today includes three photos of the same object and two other photos!

1,2,3 - My brother and sister in law serve as missionaries in Africa.  They are based in West Africa but their work takes them to many countries.  Recently they were in Egypt, and have come home for meetings, and family visits.  While in Egypt they bought some Alabaster lamps and they gifted one to us!

It's so beautiful and heavy!

4. I am enjoying this book by Angela Kelly. I find it is very personal and humanizing of Her Majesty without being a 'tell all' book.

5. A glimpse at the set up in our homeschool co-op parents room.  People bring snacks to share with everyone, and I make sure there are coffee, tea, and a cold drink.  My role is one of hostessing the room, and connecting with people.  I love it!

I hope you have a very good weekend!  Its going to be very cold here today, and wintery weather in on the way this weekend.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Tiffany Style Lamps

Tim has always loved the look of Tiffany style lamps, and has wanted to find some with a lot of red in them. Oh, and he didn't want to have the dragon fly motif that is so very popular on many of these style lamps.

Several weeks ago, a friend was over and we were discussing decor and style because we had just purchased our new chairs, and our friend really liked them.

 He said that he really liked the Arts and Crafts movement, and Frank Lloyd Wright's style.  I mentioned that Tim loved Tiffany style lamps, etc, and our friend started looking online.  I looked too, and found this lamp.

 Our friend decided to gift us two of these lamps.  We tried to refuse, but he refused our refusal!

We've all been enjoying their beauty.

I had to keep the curtains closed to try to get some decent photos of the lamps.

Here's a photo with the living room curtains open (faces northwest), but the deck door curtains still closed.

They look wonderful in our living room and it was a very generous gift.

The lamps can be found on Amazon if you search for -

Bieye L10024 Baroque Tiffany Style Stained Glass Table Lamp with 17 inches Wide Handmade Lampshade for Bedside Bedroom Living Room, 26-inch Tall (Red)

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Tea On Tuesday (For A Wednesday)

Okay, so I thought today was Tuesday, even though I had my once a month book study ladies here last night and we meet on the second Tuesday of the month!

It was actually my thinking about the good evening we had with good discussion and sharing, that got me thinking about tea this morning.

See, these ladies like to come and use my tea cups and have a good cup of tea (or two) while we talk.  This always makes me happy to share my love of tea and tea cups.

So I decided to share with you all today, Wednesday (but we can just pretend its a Tuesday, right?), some of my favorite tea tables from Tea events I've hosted.

A Highland Tea

A Lamplight Tea

A Whiter Than Snow Tea

These were all teas that were held at Christmas time.

Sharing tea and conversation,  women using fine tea cups by candle or lamplight is such a special thing.

Do you drink tea?  Most days, I use a mug for my tea.  I use a pretty one, mind you, that is like drinking from china.  But I also use my tea cups often.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Unintended Blog Break

I feel as if I should say "Happy New Year!" all over again.  I really didn't intend to have a blog break, but the holidays and early January are filled with family celebrations, and we started co-op a week earlier than we normally do after the holidays.

Anyway, I hope that January is kind to you.  Ours has been pretty mild overall.  Last weekend was like spring 60 plus degrees!  I don't like the warm ups to be too mild because flowers and fruit trees get confused.  Last year a late winter warm up lead to cherry trees putting out their flowers and then we had a big freeze again and the cherry crop was not a good one.  Thankfully that didn't happen to the peaches, which are my personal favorites!

Yesterday, Kyle and I took our friend Denny to have outpatient surgery on his hands (ligament trigger release on all eight fingers) and then we went to breakfast, stopped by his doctors office for gloves for showering, picked up his prescription and came home.  

A few hours later I headed out the door with Sarah, who had worked all day, to the performing arts academy.  She had class and I was monitor in the student hang out area.  I was talking with a friend who is helping with costumes for Beauty and the Beast, and the gal in charge of costuming stopped to talk to us.  Next thing I knew, I was asked to help sew costumes, so we'll be doing that on Mondays and Thursdays during academy time.  We are just making the principles costumes, and adding details to the 'dishes', feather dusters, statues, etc....It's going to be fun!

From there I drove to Ephrata to meet Rachel for a consultation with the seamstress who is doing alterations on her dress.  Because we bought it online, I bought a size up from her normal size and we are having is shortened, taken in, bra cups added and bustling.  They will also press her dress so it will be ready to go on wedding day.  

I returned home around 7:30 pm.  I was glad to come into to my nice welcoming home.  Cheerful faces welcoming, and having a chance to sit and relax with people I love.  

Our friend Denny is staying with us for a week or so while he recovers. We give him our master bedroom with its on suite bathroom, and Rachel has given us her bedroom, and is sleeping downstairs.

Tonight, I am hosting ladies from my church for our month book discussion.  We are going through Sally and Sarah Clarkson's book "The Lifegiving Home."

I'm starting to take down the rest of the garlands and lights, from the holidays and let the house rest for a few weeks until spring.  I did buy some flowers at Trader Joe's the other day, and that is part of what has made me ready to put all the Christmas/winter stuff away.

I hope you have a wonderful day, and I plan to be back tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

It's A Beautiful Morning And I'm Sharing Some Thoughts

After many days of grey skies, we have sunshine and blue skies!

We had about three inches of snow yesterday.  Really pretty, and I enjoyed sitting in my cozy chair watching the snow come down.

This is the view out of the deck door this morning.

These next two photos are out of the front door

Here is the same view an hour later

Brenda at It's A Beautiful Life posted a quote of something Joy Clarkson had written and it resonated in me because I really do believe it - 

"The world has always been on the cusp of disaster, the globe shall eventually be consumed by the sun, and all men do die in their time. Don't let this knowledge paralyse you. Live a valiant life, love deeply, create beauty, seek the things that outlast death. Don't be afraid.
This is what I remind myself of when the news makes me anxious. We're all going to die eventually. You weren't promised an easy life. You can't control the times you live in, but you can live well in your complicated times. And I have a sneaking suspicion love outlasts death.
And then I eat fish and chips because life is short and little pleasures must not be eschewed."
I really agree with this.  God created us and placed us in just this time in history for His purposes.  He wants to use us and also wants to use the things that scare us to draw us close to Him.  He wants us to keep looking at Him and to see what He has for us.

I want to live well in the life he's given me.  To me this means I'm going to keep my head up, and my eyes for those that Jesus brings into my life.  I'm going to love them, speak words of life to them, feed them good food, and laugh with them.

I'm going to keep encouraging them and casting forth joy and hope for them to grasp hold of.  I'm not just talking about my family.  I'm talking about neighbors, ladies in our co-op, my daughter's co-workers, friends.

I'm going to read good books, and watch good movies, and listen to good music.  I'm going to feed my soul with the Word, and with the beautiful words of others.

I'm going to drink tea, eat scones, rejoice when my daughter marries this spring, smile through tears when another daughter leaves for school in the fall.

Then I'm going to enjoy being the only female in a household of men.  I'm going to knit, and pray, and sing, and talk, and share beauty as long as God grants me life.

So who's with me?

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

This And That

Happy Tuesday Morning!  With the busyness of the holidays behind us now, I thought I'd share what's been happening here at the Cottage.

I put away the red plaid, but still wanted a pretty centerpiece for my kitchen table, which is wear we eat all of our meals.  I think this collection of transferware tea cups and saucers looks great.

Rachel's gift to me for Christmas was a 9 candle set.  They are battery operated and have a remote with a timer setting.  

I'm really loving the ease of having the remote and I love the ambiance they add in the evening.  You can find them {here.}

If you're a fan of the Netflix series The Crown, like I am, you may enjoy the official podcast! I've been listening to it and I love hearing all about each episode.

Image result for the crown podcast

The Crown Podcast {here.}

Last night was the full cast read through (and sing through) for Beauty and the Beast.  These kids are so talented and enthusiastic!  Its going to be a wonderful show.  

We start back to co-op this week, and next week I host my women's small group.  We are reading through The Lifegiving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson.

We are busy with wedding plans.  We have Rachel's dress, have ordered the flower girl dresses.  We've ordered two dresses for Sarah to try.  The bridesmaids are all going to wear burgundy but they get to choose their own dress.

We have a venue, but now the venue manager is concerned that he may have been over enthusiastic about how many people his venue can hold.  We are going to do a square footage layout with tables and chairs etc, and see if it will work.  He's so concerned he's offering us our full deposit back on a non refundable deposit.  So....we may be changing venues.  Sigh...

I'm not worried.  It will all work out.

We are supposed to get a few inches of snow this afternoon.  It has been so mild and not winter like at all so we'll see if we actually do get snow!

What's happening with you?  Are you all back in the swing of daily life?

Monday, January 6, 2020

Home Keeping: New Living Room Furniture

Tim and I were away for several days last week, and on the day we returned home we went to IKEA.  I'd had my eye on a couch that was on sale, and that matched the color of our current couch.  

We had several pieces of furniture that had seen better days, and were falling apart or not working properly.  You can see the before of the living room {here.}

Once we got to IKEA we saw that the couch I'd been thinking of was pretty large, and it would have to be ordered and shipped if we did want it.  I needed to think about this so we looked at the chairs.  I'd been planning on getting an Ektorp chair, also.

I've seen these all over the internet, they are cottagey and have traditional style, too.  So we sat in them, sat in several others and came home with one Ektorp and a plan.

The IKEA we went to was out of stock on the Strandmon, but the other IKEA had it in stock.  Also, the vehicle we were driving didn't have room for two Ektorp chairs.  So, the next day we headed to the other store, and got our other Ektorp chair and one Strandmon.

First we removed the love seat and put the two Ektorp chairs in from of the window.

But it made it crowded by the hutch, so this morning I swapped the Ektorp chairs with the black small recliner and the Strandmon.

We will replace the black recliner with something else when we decide what we want.

Oh, and we have been gifted two very beautiful Tiffany style lamps that will be here this week.  I can't wait to show you when they get here.

I am beyond happy, and everyone else really likes them as well so win-win!

Happy Monday, everyone!


  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...