What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lazy days?!? HA!

I apologize for missing Foto Friday this past week~I did my first ever two-day yard sale on Friday and Saturday and believe me when I tell you, I've been crazy busy because of it.

Living in the country requires a bit of innovation when it comes to holding a yard sale, you just don't get as many customers as you would in town. Because of this, I held my yard sale on the same weekend as a neighboring auction house was holding an auction. Auctions are an EVENT and people can go just to meet up with neighbors, not even just to buy. I thought if ever I was going to do a yard sale, THIS would have to be the weekend.

A tremendous amount of work but surprisingly no-stress (why have I never set yard sales up the night before and tarped things?!?!) this time, and I am $110.00 dollars richer. Surprisingly, my biggest ticket item was $6.00~ it's amazing how profitable nickel and diming it can be.

So the week leading up to Friday and Saturday were pretty busy and of course, those days followed suite. Sunday, after church we had a picnic/birthday party to attend-with FREE carousel rides and kiddie pool. Fun!

TOMORROW is Adele's fifth (and final) hearing test. I kinda left everyone hanging about the last one, which was a failed test due to machine difficulties-but it didn't fail to overwhelm me a bit. I was sick of thinking about it, sick of worrying about it and sick of talking about it. SO, I stopped. For four months. And I am happy that I did, even though I know lots of people aren't happy about it (Hi Mom! hehehe), because it gave me an opportunity to look at my girl through unconcerned eyes and to see firsthand that she and I love one another (CAN love one another) no more and no less than if she weren't just as she is this very minute. Regardless of hearing status. Regardless of anything. I feel refreshed and ready to hear the verdict, or ready to put it out of our heads, which we have decided to do if this test too is inconclusive. At some point, enough is enough.

It seems to me that unless my mind is playing tricks on me (and Matt's, on him) that Adele' does respond to sounds and such. My gut tells me her "odd" ear is deaf but that she has hearing in her other. But we know now more than ever before that with or without hearing, not only is she fully functioning but she is bright, and sweet and very very dear. So, whatever comes may come and we will not only survive but thrive. And I'll try very hard to clear each bump in the road with as much grace as is possible.

So, that's Tuesday.

and THEN. (HA! You thought I was done?!) On Thursday I am very excited to be hosting an outdoor picnic party at our home, combining lots of great loves. Good food, good friends, children, flowers, picnics...and books. It's a book exchange! I'll give you all the details once I actually MAKE them, which has not yet happened. Which is surprising because there are nearly 100 people invited....3/4 of which are....CHILDREN! It will be fun, of that I am certain.

But it is a large gathering, with many people who have never been to our new home (so you know it must be in shipshape!), will require lots of food, and SHOULD have some preparations...and you KNOW I can't host a party without a bit of frugal, make-do or do-without decorating (read: homemade). Needless to say, I've got my work cut out for me.

Who ever coined the term "lazy days of summer" didn't have a clue.

Likely, I will not be on the blog-scene again until AFTER all the wonderfulness of this week transpires but I WILL be back, hopefully with lots of good book exchange coverage and ideas. In my head--it's gonna be FABULOUS.

(after a bath. Our Bunkin has turned into a little fish, she loves the water so.)

(in case you were wondering what she was looking at...)

(and you KNOW, I couldn't resist....)
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Baby Robert

Baby R, originally uploaded by sgrbear724.

This little guy has the most delicious baby rolls and most beautiful skin tone. When I saw him, I said "I MUST photograph him. Thank you." Then I snatched him from his carseat and stripped him down.

He is three months younger than my Adele' and...much bigger.

MAN, is he cute or WHAT?!?

Some with color adjusted

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Yes. My yard sale boxes yet to price count is still at 10 or so, but I had to take a minute to share some pictures of this darling guy. But I was a good girl and instead of taking the time to post lots of big pictures I hastily created some collages. See?!? My priorities are right! :-)

I can not for the life of me figure out a way to get bigger photographs to fit on my page (through Picasa). poo.

Any suggestions?

In the meantime, click on the picture for a larger view.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy thoughts

I have 18 boxes, two garbage bags and one Moses basket full of garage sale stuff that needs to be priced.

For this Friday and Saturday.

I haven't started pricing, making price sheets, figuring where I will find all the tables necessary and I've given up on the notion of baking bake-sale stuff (as I usually do) for the day.

I've only just begun the signs.

And yet: it is the last thing I want to work on (hence TWO posts yesterday.) Talk about procrastinating.





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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's about time

As good as I am about taking pictures all the time, I am absolutely, positively HORRIBLE at printing them.

I never do.


And this, to me, is very sad. Because my kids are too little to check out my blog right now but I know how much they LOVE to see pictures of themselves.

So I made it my goal to get some pictures up on the wall but I knew I would have to get creative with framing because picture frames were not in the budget (sheesh are they EXPENSIVE at the store!)

I haven't found any frames at yard sales lately (but mental note: even when they are gaudy I am henceforth snatching them up when they are just cents. Every time.) so I had to make due with what I had. But none of the ones I had coordinated and many were...black.

I think photography looks very professional in black frames, but black just really isn't my...thing. (Though it may HAVE to be at some point-as many black frames as I've accumulated.) So....I opted for white and then I went scouring through the barns. And found some old window panes that would be just the ticket.

I painted one white and (since glass costs money) I simply printed out my pictures and laminated them with my laminator. Have I mentioned lately how I love my laminator??

Hung on the wall with my side of the road coffee table, it made for a nice entryway decoration. But. The empty coffee table was a magnet for JUNK when we came in and the wall was a bit too sparse for my liking.

So I added a few things....

I love being able to see my loved ones on the wall. WHY did it take me so long to do this?!?!
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details, details

Harvesting Basket: .50c at yard sale

Bench: free off side of road

Red and White Fabric used to wrap pillow: thrifted, .25c

Red tray: $1.00 Kirklands, long ago

Sprigs: free from craft room :-)

Vase: Christmas Present

Rug: leftovers from Mom

I wanted to add a few splashes of color and it seemed from the things I pulled from around the house, red was to be it. Whether I liked it or not.

The bench looked nice but the wall didn't have any red which made it look a bit...segregated.

I hot glued a red ribbon hanger to this frame.

Since I had a seashell frame that was nicely textured, I wanted to add a bit more texture so I used of my garden twine to attach three el cheapo frames that I quickly sponge-painted white into a (somewhat uneven-oops) column. The frames were less than $1.00 a piece and gaudy silver to begin with.

Then I raided my silk flower bin and found some red berries and hotglued them around this plain glass "frame". I say "frame" because it didn't have a frame just had a few pieces of metal keeping the glass and cardboard sandwiched together.

It's been fun.

And trust me, I'm just getting started.......
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Strawberry Days

Last week the children and I hiked to the strawberry fields to THUNK and PLUNK into pails and baskets.

I hmmed and hawwed because the very day we chose to go, it poured and poured. I opted not to go and then the sky cleared so I hastily changed my mind (the sweet juiciness beckoned) and drove onward.

We gathered our supplies and headed for the fields, popping and plunking to our hearts desire...for about five minutes...before the sky opened up again.

But we were there and our baskets were not nearly filled so we braved the storm, elder two and I getting drenched while baby slept soundly in her stroller with towel tent made above her.

This years price of berries per quart was $1.79 which seems really high to me. I wish I had written down last years' price but I *think* it was $1.27 last year.

Never-the-less, it is better than nothing, I guess.

We ate our fill in fields and then more at home. (Those baskets and pails above were mounded on top when I paid for them.)

Is there anything better than grabbing a fistful of berries at every snacking whim and feeling no guilt? I think not. Neither do the children. They think it is pretty special they are allowed to help themselves without asking first (which in our house, is a rule when the fridge or cupboard gets opened.)

In the hours before dinner Panda said to me "Me not wike stwawbewies anymore cuz dey make me beyey hurt." I laughed because he said it with mouth full of berry.

And it was that way several more times....

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What do you do with strawberries?

Besides popping 'em in your mouth every five minutes....

Strawberry season is one of my very favorite times. I don't know if it is because it is the first real fruit harvest of the year and so more exciting (could be) or that the preserving of such is so easy (could be also) or that I don't have to worry about snacking throughout the day because what could ever be wrong with helping yourself to strawberries?!? Or maybe because I am not buried alive by all sorts of garden things that need to be "put up". Maybe for all those reasons.

Strawberries are a gentle nudge into the start of canning season because I don't actually "CAN" them. I prefer strawberry freezer jam to the taste of cooked strawberry jams so I get the pleasure of putting things up for wintertime without the fuss.

For freezer jam, I always just follow the recipe on the packet. It's good.

I also froze lots of berries. To do this, wash and hull (remove the stem portion) berries and lay in a single layer on a cookie sheet and pop them into the freezer. (This is called FLASH FREEZING.) Once they are solid, transfer them to a freezer bag. You lay them out first so that they don't form one complete LUMP of berries but can be used individually. Easy Peasy and they will be SO welcome this wintertime.

I tried to dehydrate some slices this year too and filled my dehydrator full-but realized that the slices become as thin as paper when done and only ended up filling a small canning jar. I don't know that it was worth it. I'd rather freeze the berries whole.

Of course, an order of sorbet is in order. Or two.

And strawberry milkshakes (that was last night.)

TWO strawberry rhubard pies (on my to-do list)

THIS incredible salad. It's divine!

Fruit Salsa with cinnamon sugar tortilla wedges

Speaking of rhubarb: I am going to experiment in order to create a strawberry rhubarb jam this year. That sounds good. (Another to-do)

And cinnamon pancakes with berries and cream. (don't even need syrup!)

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Foto Friday

(I post this top photo of the peacock shaking himself into a threatening position only to show the different types of feathers peacocks have. I found this fascinating since I had never seen those back ones before! God is a magnificent artist, if you ask me.)

Ever go to a zoo, snap lots of pictures, come home and while you are looking them over, realize they all look the same...


As you look at all the photographs of snouts, beaks and faces peering through wire fencing, you realize photographs just can't equal the fun of actually experiencing it in person. LIKELY, you are feeling like the pictures don't do the animals justice.

And they probably aren't.

While I know that nothing can beat the actual experiencing of it, I think it is quite possible to get a few good representative shots of the animals and how wonderful they are.

If you notice in your photographs that you have lots of fencing or that you are always looking down on the animals, you are representing them as caged beasts and that's no fun. Plus, it adds a very impersonal feeling to the moment.

Here is something I do often when photographing caged things (flowers, animals, etc.)

I get down to their level and I put my camera as close to the fence as possible, sometimes even resting on it.

By doing so, you are peering your lens through the fence holes, eliminating those distracting fencelines and creating a clear picture.

Getting down on their level helps to portray the personal-ness (is that a word?) of the moment. They aren't just an animal you took a quick glance of through fencing. There was interaction. There was a moment of exchange.

These photos were taken of a caged peacock but getting on its level and shoving my camera up to the fence-hole allowed me to get a much more memorable picture of the exchange.

It doesn't have to be animals at a zoo. The subject could be anything whose view is being partially obstructed by cages, fences, holes, cracks.

So my challenge to you this week would be to try and take some photos of things behind fencing and see if you can do so without actually photographing the fencing. See if you notice the difference...


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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sowing in Tears

The garden lays in wait as the gray sky rumbles forth, threatening. Promising. There the earth sits, crumbled and sandy and within it, plants thirsty with mouths stretching open before heaven like baby robins to their mother.

I sit on the patio, overlooking it all. I see the gray and moreso, the LACK of blue. I hear the rumbles in the distance and I see the garden, ready and waiting. I can FEEL the anticipation.

I know the importance of sky tears, and how the garden thrives on droplets of all kinds. It devoured my own tears not so long ago. I love to plan a garden, to level the growing beds, to watch it grow and eat from its bounty but not everything is pleasant and fun. Sometimes the work is grueling and even at times painful! Droplets of sweat and toil as manure is hauled, pushed. Droplets of tears as Mama pushed too harshly seeds into earth, punishing them with her own frustrations of life. It was work, all of it, hard work and that work was the beginning of MORE hard work---because one day, Lord willing, there will be a harvest. But what joy it will be when the harvest is in and I can hold the fruits of my labor in my hand.

As I look on the quenchless earth and the promised life droplets looming overhead, I think of another who is insatiable. Another droplet-lover.

Or rather, three.

Three little birds, ever stretching their mouths to consume all I have to give. Three needy creatures who thrive on the tears of self-sacrifice and require the droplets of discipline.

Parenting is hard work. It is full of joys and laughter, and great reward but it is not ALL joy and happiness. Sometimes it
requires struggle, pain, sadness, discipline. Tears.

Every child sins, its in their nature. But sometimes it is just easier to let it slide. Right? Sometimes you don't want to be the bad guy. You don't want to spoil a perfectly fine moment. Or maybe, during a particularly trying time, you're just TIRED of disciplining. I have felt these things many a time. Even today. It would be so much more pleasant to not have to discipline, so much more fun because though many know me as a disciplinarian, I HATE it.

I HATE it, but I know it is important. And I also know that it is a form of love. Love in the form of sacrifice. Love in the form of wisdom. Love for the future, not for now.

The child who has no discipline, has no LOVE for God says...

He disciplines those he loves.

Those who are not disciplined, He calls so unloved they are not even sons.

Nothing in life comes easily, at least nothing meaningful or fulfilling. Especially not the training of young souls but God promises GOOD from difficulty, REWARD for obedience...He will bless those who are faithful to their responsibilities.

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

A life verse for me, in this time of my life...
Psalms 126:5
Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.
And so, I sow in tears. I parent and discipline, though it oft brings me to tears and frustration, though I would rather ignore it all.

This moment, with three little ones who are so unequipped for life, I sacrifice moments of pleasure for meaningful pursuits, for fulfilling purposes. To raise up our children to respect authority, to be obedient to God's word, to be kind and good, to think of others before themselves.

I do this not just because I want good children. I do this for the godly men and women they will one day become. I do this for the godly men and women they will one day marry. I do this to fill a nation with something it desperately needs: quality. But mostly, my tears and toil are spent for the glory of God, in obedience to Him.

I sow in tears today, but my arms are stretched heavenward, anticipating the joy that looms ahead.

As the sky opens up and the thunder roars, I know that one day my joy songs will far surpass the greatness of thunderclouds.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Matchy Matchy....on a dime

I am a Mama who loves her children matching for as LONG as I can do it.

I dreamed of having two girls to dress up alike many a day when I first had a second girlie in my arms.

Then reality hit.

It's HARD to play matchy matchy with girls so far different in ages. Unless I spent trillions of dollars (or close). OR sewed all their clothes.

Now I like to sew, but I am a SLOW sewer and not only that-but that might still cost me thousands (it's expensive, I tell ya!)

So when I saw some shirred skirts on super clearance at Target I snatched up two, both size 7. One for the eldest. And one, modified, for the baby.

I stitched a seam along the side and cut off the excess to make a dress body. Added some embroidered grosgrain for straps and VOILA!

A dress!

PLus, the "excess" was just enough for two coordinated hair pieces.

I love it when that happens.

And I REALLY love matchy matchy.

Seems to me, I have a similar colored Polo shirt JUST Andrew's size....

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Speaking of Milestones.....

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an Experiment

WILL these supersized pictures fit in my blog?!?!?!
Crossing fingers.....

(edited: nope. So I switched 'em. whaaaaa!)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Them good eats

I'm getting really bad at recording milestones for my third wee one.

Of course, if I think about it, I wasn't really great at it with my second.

Or my first, for that matter.

An undetermined, very vague "while ago", Miss Adyay (as Panda calls her) started waking up in the wee hours of the morning and I knew it was time.

Babes waking up in the wee hours after sleeping soundly for months has always been the cloodle I needed to begin "real food".

So I began and she loves it. Every single bite.

So this.....

has been my very best friend these days.

I do use some cereals, but I don't "do" storebought baby food because-well, it's gross. If I wouldn't eat, I won't have my children eat it and have you ever tasted baby food turkey before?


It saves on food bills and recycling too.

I've always prefered just giving them what we have. Things with flavor. And texture.

It's a shot in the dark, mind you, but I wonder if this handy food grinder is the reason I have never had a picky eater and never had a gaggy baby. I'm only on my third child, so I could always be surprised in the future...but so far so good.

Introducing the texture early and the varieties of flavor that home-flavored foods provide MAY have something to do with it!

Besides, it's pretty cool that my not-quite seven month old loves fresh strawberries and avocado.