Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Friday, July 31, 2020

Apps Turn My Photos Into Paintings

If you've been around my blog for a while, you know that I am a fan of the app Waterlogue, which turns your photos into watercolor paintings.  Recently I came across another app called Paint Can, and it turns your photos into oil paintings.  It's fun.

Here are photos I took of my hydrangea

And here are my photos as watercolors

And as oil paintings.

I'm thinking they might make really nice gifts if you have them printed onto canvas or as prints and then framed.

Happy Weekend, Friends!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Garden: Limelight Hydrangea In Bloom

My limelight is full of blooms, and was looking beautiful yesterday.  I cut half a dozen blooms, some older Annabelle's that have turned green and a couple pink blooms off of a small mophead hydrangea I have.  They are all beautiful. 

Working to keep my mind and heart fixed on the things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable. (phil 4:8)

Praying for peace, for eyes to be open, for discernment.  I know the ONE who knows and can rest in that.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Tea On Tuesday

20 Quotes For Tea Lovers

Wishing you all a very lovely day.

I have found this video to be interesting. Hydroxycholorquine is a medicine familiar to all people who live or work in countries where malaria is prevalent.  Tim grew up taking it. It's very safe.  Yet even today, 'fact checkers' and the media are saying it is not safe.  Doctors from all around the world have used this combination of meds, very inexpensive meds, to heal people from Covid. Even those who have existing conditions.

This is why we know there is an agenda behind the way this illness is being dealt with.  I hope you are able to watch the video.  It is being removed and censored from social media.

Don't live in fear - there is a cure. 

Monday, July 27, 2020

A Little Floral Cheer

I've spent so much time at home this year.  Since March, I've been mostly home. Five months so far.  I'm itching to do some projects, but at the same time, I don't feel a lot of motivation, and with the uncertainty of how things will be long term, we are being cautious with spending.  

This weekend however, I did a small thing that has brought me great cheer.  I brought a hanging candle holder up from my basement storage shelves, and put a 1/2 pint canning jar in it with water, and popped in a hydrangea bloom.


Instant cuteness, especially when hung from the double-sided clock.


Friday, July 24, 2020

Friday Five - Old Photos From My Garden

Today's five is all about flowers that are currently in bloom in my garden but these are all older photos that I've taken.

1. Annabelle Hydrangea 

2. Feverfew

3. Hollyhock Nigra

4. Echinacea (purple coneflower)

5. Scepter'd Isle - David Austin Roses

I wish you peace for this weekend, and I am praying for our nation.  

 "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33 ESV

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Let's Chat

I feel like I have a lot to say, but then when I go to write it, I don't know what to say.

Here is the US the virus has become political.  We've gone from reporting those who've died to the number of people who've caught the virus, and acting like catching the virus is a bad thing.  In the beginning they told us many of us would get it, and that for most of us it would be mild.  But the virus death numbers have plummeted so those trying to politicize it have to find new ways to make people stay afraid.  The virus IS serious for some who might catch it, but if we keep those people quarantined, we can let this virus run its course and be done.  
Many here in the US believe that most of the fear-mongering will go away after our election in early November.  We had to cancel Rachel and Wes' reception because we had a suspicion that the governor was going to either take us back into yellow or mandate that fewer people could be together in person.  That's exactly what he did, we are still green but he reduced the number of people back to 25.  We've been locked down since early March, nearly five months, but we've got until early November, which is three more months to go.  

I can go out and shop, but wearing a mask makes me sweat and its uncomfortable after 5 minutes, so I end up not doing any kind of shopping other than to get groceries.

I'm sad for all the businesses who have been unfairly closed, and then when they have reopened they keep having the 'rules' changed on them.

In personal news, Tim's mom (she'll be 99 at the end of October) is declining.  We are praying that God take her home.  She's an amazing person and has lived a full life until the last 7 years when short term memory dementia came into her life.  I'd say probably the last two have seen the biggest decline in her health.  She has spent most of her adult life in ministry to people.  God knows her days.

Tim has continued to be very busy with work, and we are grateful.  We continue to be thankful for our church meeting every week.  We are blessed to have a space outside, under trees, to meet for the service.  I'm mindful every week that in CA the churches are not allowed to sing, and that in China churches are being made to remove anything related to Jesus.  We always say that can't happen here, but with this virus we've seen just how quickly many in leadership positions have grasped at power and control.

It's giving me a lot to pray about, and I'm sure most of you are feeling the same way.  We must continue to look to God for direction, and for our safety and security.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Tea On Tuesday

I got to have tea with my friend Katie on Friday at our favorite tea shop.

We hadn't seen each other in months and we had fun talking about everything from current events in our lives, to politics, and world wide happenings.  It was grand!

We were happy to see that the tea shop was as busy as it could be with our governor changing the seating limits from 50% to 25%.  I don't know how restaurants are going to survive.

We were so busy talking I forgot to take photos except these three!

My need for time with friends was filled up and I'm so glad to have been able to combine my love for tea with this catch up with a dear friend!

We've been having a heat wave hear, in the 90's and humid.  Thankful for AC, and if I have to do anything outdoors, its done early.  Kyle will mow today, in fact he'll be getting started soon so he can beat the heat, too.  Poor Tim is outdoors all day, but thankfully his AC works in his tahoe, so he can get cooled down and refreshed in between inspections.

How is the weather where you are?

Monday, July 20, 2020

Hospitality: Feeding Guests

If you have been reading here for long, you know we are committed to hospitality.  We find it a wonderful thing to host others in our home.

When we were a part of a family integrated church we hosted families from church every Sunday; anyone was welcome to come after church.  Sometimes we had nearly 50 people here.  The kids had lots of places to play, Lindsay taught people to ride horses.  Sometimes our home was the landing spot after an afternoon hike, then it would be pizza and games into the evening.

We greatly enjoyed those times, and over the last two years we've missed regularly having guests.  We'd begun to host again, when the coronavirus lockdown hit.  During that time we still saw family, though my parents have been isolating, and a few friends who were not worried about catching the virus. (no one that we have personal contact with have caught the virus)

Yesterday, we hosted a young couple from our church for dinner and conversation.  Rachel and Wes were here too, and our friend Denny.  It was great.

I cooked a pork loin in my crockpot all day, and we had pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, beans and watermelon.  For dessert I made Brenda's recipe for peach cobbler.  It was so good! You can find it {here}.  We served it with vanilla ice cream.

With just four of us living here, we have just one leaf in our table, so yesterday we added two leaves, I had my enamel pitcher on the table full of rudbekia golden glow.

We set everything up as a buffet, so plates and flatware, along with napkins and all the food were on our long counter.  We all ate together at the table and enjoyed the food and conversation.

I dished up dessert right at the table, and we made tea and coffee.  By then my lower back was protesting the hard wooden chairs, so we all moved into the living room.

It was a non stress way to enjoy spending time with this couple and getting to know each other better.

I've found that when we host people that if I am calm and create a welcoming atmosphere that sets a good tone for how the time spent with our guests will go.

I know most people are worried about feed guests when they host, so I thought I'd give you a list of foods we have made when we've hosted people in our home.

Ziti, salad, and garlic bread
Pulled Pork sandwiches, coleslaw and beans
From scratch pancakes 
Fajita chicken salad
Grilled Hamburgers
Hot Dogs and S'mores over the campfire
Potluck - everyone brings something to share

As I always say, I find that people love to be invited to come to your home, for a meal or coffee and dessert, and you don't have to do fancy food.

If we are having guests and serving pizza, I rarely make homemade pizza, anymore. No one cares.  They just enjoy that you've thought of them and invited them to come.

I hope that soon everyone will feel comfortable going about our lives again, and that when you feel comfortable doing it, you will invite someone to share a meal, or dessert and coffee with you.

It's such a great way to get to know each other.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Pray For The Children

I've been pretty quiet lately, taking in information and trying to help bring awareness to the plight of children worldwide who are being sex trafficked.  Its horrific, and I find I must throw myself on the Lord, into His arms to even bear the knowing.  The enemy of our souls wants to destroy everything that God loves, and especially people who are created in HIS image.

I'm leaning in to the Lord, praying, knowing its the best thing I can do.  Bring an end to the suffering Father, for their good and for your glory.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Staying Healthy By Making Good Choices

Creekside Cottage: Homegrown Strawberries

For Tim and I, staying healthy is important.  I'm fairly lazy when it comes to exercise, but am trying to be better.  One issue for me is having some degeneration in my lower spine.  

We've recently bought a rebounder and I am giving that a try as a way to not have a big impact on my joints but still get my heart rate up.

The only health issues we deal with are hereditary ones, and we are on a few meds and trying to eat well.

Many people are very frightened by the coronavirus (there are many who must be careful because of underlying issues they could become very ill if they caught it), but if you are a healthy person, regardless of your age, if you catch it you will be sick but recover well.  

A key to being able to not be afraid is to make sure that your immune system is strong.  Build your gut health with probiotics, get vitamin D, eat well, and I would also add get rid of as many toxins in your home as you can.

I've been making my own cleaners for years.  I never panicked at the clorox wipes being unavailable, because I was able to make my own cleaning spray.  I use water, isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, and some essential oils.

Recently I tried a sample of thieves cleaner and I really like it.  It has no toxins, is plant based and cleans really well.  It smells good, too!

Young Living THIEVES HOUSEHOLD CLEANER - Single Packet – The Natural Hart

We try to avoid sugar, and white flour, white bread, and white rice.  We don't worry about it if we eat it, but we try to use a healthy sweetener, I use sprouted flours, and brown rice.  we have chickens for eggs. Every little bit helps.

Creekside Cottage: Fresh Eggs

I know that sometimes we get diseases that we have no control over - cancer, autoimmune diseases, and more.  In these cases we have to look to the Lord for direction for treatments and make the best choices we can.  Eating well, staying away from toxins, building our immune systems will help our bodies to fight, but ultimately our lives are in God's hands.

What are some things you do to keep healthy?  Do you find it harder, as you age, to keep healthy?  I'm really interested in these issues and would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Home Keeping: Having The Right Tool For The Job

For over 32 years I've done this job of Home Keeper and I've loved Keeping a home for my family.  However, I've often struggled with the process because of not having the right tools for the job that needed to be done.

Just a few examples - 

1. For several years I cooked for our family on a stove that had one working burner and an iffy oven.  I finally realized that it was crazy and time to buy a new stove.

2. For years I had one 12 frying pan.  That was the only frying pan I had and I was cooking for many people in our home.  I'd have to use it and wash and dry it to use it to cook something else for the same meal.  One day, I finally recognized that I needed more pans!

Have any of you done this, or is it just me?  Sigh.

As I mentioned, when I talked about our fridge, we are the kind of people who've chosen to make due with what we have because we don't like to have debt, but we like to get our money's worth out of an item.  So, over the years I've made due with under performing vacuums, stoves, dishwashers.  

In the last several months, I've made purchases that have made my Home Keeping and cooking a lot easier!

(If you purchase through the Amazon links I will get a small amount of compensation but there is no extra charge to you.)

The first purchase I made was something I'd been lobbying for since last autumn.  For years we had been using a good canister vac, but over time it was not working as well as it could, it had a problem rolling properly etc.

This is what I bought to replace it.

It's a Shark Navigator Lift Away Deluxe! You can find it {here}.

Emma's mother in law cleans houses and she uses a professional version of this.  I used it at Em's house and really liked it and it made me realize how under performing our vacuum was.  This Shark is lightweight and you can detach the canister for cleaning stairs.  

We have all pine floors in our home and just a few area rugs, and this vacuum works well for us in our home.

The second item I recently bought was a hamburger chopper.

I've seen this nifty tool for years but continued to chop with a metal spatula and could never get the meat into a uniform size or even get all of it finely chopped.

This tool is so easy to use, that Kyle thinks its great!

Do you use one of these?  Why did I wait so long to try it out?!
This is the Pampered Chef brand and is the one I have.  You can find it {here.}

It's so great to find tools that help us in our work in our homes!  My husband always has the right tools for the work he does - it's vital!  I finally really recognize that these are the tools of my 'trade' and they are vital, too!

Do you have a tool in your home that you wouldn't want to be without? Tell me about it in the comments!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Friday Five: Garden Edition

My garden is in need of weeding, mulch, and deadheading.  However, there is still beauty to see and I am going to share it with you today.

1. Echinacea - It's thriving in the garden.  I can't wait until the autumn when the finches visit the garden to eat the seed heads of these flowers.

2. Hollyhock - Still going strong in the garden.  We haven't had a lot of rain but the rain we have had have been torrential downpours.  I may need to stake these flowers.

3. Daylily - The color is more vibrant in person.  

4. Larkspur - Years ago Rachel scattered some seeds she had and every year they self seed. Such a pretty flower.

5. Annabelle Hydrangea - Some are laying down because of heavy rain the other day, but most are upright.  This bush is big in the corner of the Cottage Garden and on the right you can see some peony leaves.

I hope you are all finding a way to thrive in the midst of the craziness.  Or maybe its just crazy here in Pennsylvania.  Sigh...

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Home Keeping: A New Refrigerator

Tim was home yesterday and was able to have a good look at our fridge.  He talked to my dad (who used to have his own refrigeration repair business) about what the issues could be.  They spoke about the age of our fridge, and what might be needed.

We are the kind of people who like to get the full use out of something we buy.  We had our fridge for over 15 years and had done many repairs on it.

I already knew the style I wanted if/when our old one finally wasn't worth fixing again.  I love the french doors on the fridge and the large freezer drawer.

We have a scratch and dent appliance store just down the road from where we live.  We can't find a scratch or dent on this fridge but the price was excellent.

Today we'll be bringing up meat, frozen veggies, and frozen fruit from our bigger freezer downstairs.  Thankfully we had room in that freezer since we are splitting a side of locally raised beef with my parents and Lindsay and Joseph. Once I move the regularly used items upstairs into the freezer in the fridge, we'll have room for our beef.

I'm grateful to be able to have this new refrigerator, and that we were able to pay cash for it.  We're hoping we can get as many good years of service from this fridge as we did from the last one.  Also with the uncertainty of the times, I'm thankful to not have debt.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Isn't Life "Grand?"

We had a lovely extended weekend.  It was really 'grand.'

Hope your weekend was full of good things.  Our refrigerator stopped working Thursday, and thankfully we had a dorm size fridge and a full freezer, so we moved everything to those, and Tim and I still were able to leave on Friday.  Now we have to see if we can repair this one (its about 16 years old) or if we should just buy a new one.  I looked this morning on a local website for a scratch and dent place and there are some nice fridges, so we'll see.

Tim is busy and I want to have this dealt with quickly, especially in this heat.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Skin Care Over Fifty

I have always taken good care of my skin.  I never go to sleep with makeup on, and I try to use good, affordable products.  For many years now I also moisturize; my face especially. 

I've shared before that I use Aldi's brand of face care products.  We've been limited to the hydrating facial cleanser, and the day and night creams, until recently.

Image result for lacura facial cleanser

Image result for lacura face cream

The cleansing exfoliating scrub and foaming gel cleanser have recently become available and I've been using them.  All the Lacura products work well on my skin and are not harsh.

Lacura Cleansing Exfoliating Scrub + Lacura Foaming Gel Cleanser ...

I'm a pretty basic girl when it comes to skin care, I've not used any of the acid products available.  I think it's because I don't really know what is safe for my skin and what could be problematic.

As you can see from the photo from last week, I'm freckled.  However, I am starting to get some age spots (I'm 56) and am using frankincense added to my moisturizer every day.  This has helped some but I guess I am curious now about other products on the market for aging skin.

I'd be interested in hearing just what you use on your skin.  Any must use products?  Testimonials?  I'd love to chat in the comments!


  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...