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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January in Review: A Resolutions Update


I promised a report at the end of each month as to how I am doing keeping up with my 2012 goals/resolutions and I intend to follow through with that so here I am, with Januarys' update. You don't care. You don't even remember. (Because, REALLY, who would?!) But your word is your word is your word. So here I am.

My 2012 goals are many, some are for the year but others are monthly and/or weekly~ among them, exercise 3 times a week, drink at least 60 oz. of water each day, read (specifically, in or about scripture) daily. These goals were really for the weekdays-not the weekends. Weekends are special in my book. Besides, ain't no way, no HOW I will be exercising in front of Matt.

Also~ each month I wanted to write at least one letter on the Sabbath and at least two letters, specifically, to my grandfather who is alone and would appreciate more than anyone, letters in the mail. I also wanted to tackle one house project per month and one homemade Christmas gift per month.

Here is a look at how I measured up in January:
(in red are the areas where I did not meet my goals)

(May I just say that public accountability is excruciating...but it is the excruciation that makes follow through terribly convincing to oneself.)

Exercise (3x per week): 17 times (totally exceeded my goal. YAY! And my waist measures 2 inches smaller too-though it doesn't feel it to me.)

Read (daily): every day. Scripture and/or Devotional

Drank 60 oz. of water: 23 times. I have now officially evolved backwards...into a fish. ;-)

Letter-writing: 17 letters (that includes thank-you notes from Christmas though so it isn't nearly as impressive as it sounds....)

Letters to Opa: 2

Financial Funds: Zilch

Did not have any money to set aside for savings or money to earmark for a car fund this month. I realized last year that by spreading payments (like auto insurance) out as a monthly payment not ONLY was I paying more in interest, but they were hitting me with a $5.00 INSTALLMENT fee-EACH month. Not cool. So I paid several bills for the whole year off once and for all, thus leaving nothing extra to be put away. It was worth it.



Homemade Christmas Gift Made: Homemade Vanilla Extract

It takes a few months (actually SIX, so if this is on your Christmas Gift List than be thinking about making a batch in the next few months! Don't know how? Here you go.)

House Project of the Month: Painted living room window, door and baseboard trim from brown to cream!

I started this project two weeks ago and stayed up way past my bedtime and had only gotten one half of the living room done. Last night when I was exhausted and had just folded 4 loads of laundry and watched everyone head upstairs to bed and all I wanted to do was follow them and sleep, I actually WOULD HAVE GONE WITH THEM had it not been for THIS post and you readers who, without knowing it-or even caring, were motivating me to finish it. Now, I can't be more happy that it is done and over with and that I took the extra time! So, thanks for that. ;-)


Family Reads: Finished three in the Narnia series: Prince Caspian, The Magicians Nephew, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (by audiobook-we listen while in the car which suits us well since it takes so long to GET to a store!) David and the Pheonix was started but not finished.

Scripture Memorization: Psalm 3. I couldn't recite it without a few peeks though. :-(

And of the yearly goals I accomplished:

Creating our Budget

February, I am ready for you!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday, Monday

(Country dogs have it SOooooooo good.)



(I got the most delicious Peppermint soap I have EVER SMELLED for Christmas this year. EVER. Judah thought so too.)





It is the start of a new week. It is the end of this first month of '12.
The sky is blue. We have peanut butter in the house.

Life is good.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Butterfly Life






When butterflies are not flying, they occasionally feed neighboring ponies bits of apple.


It's true.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Winter Bonnet for Corynn

Blogging is always a good motivation...especially when you publicly admit to loony and slightly embarrassing flaws like project addiction.

And that motivation has resulted in a bunch of new FINISHED projects! (*cue applause*)

I plan to draw these projects out in order to squeak every last blog post I can get out of them. wink


For today though~ a winter bonnet for Corynn. I adore anything Elfin so immediately fell in love with the subtle, pointy tip of this hat which turns it very Elfin indeed.

Better still, it is simply a single-crocheted RECTANGLE measured individually ( from jawbone to jawbone) and then stitched up the back. Made with a chunky yarn (Cozy Wool), one skein was the EXACT amount I needed. Couldn't be simpler.

And Corynn L.O.V.E.S. it.

I made it last Friday and she has LITERALLY worn it every single day since~ all day long.

Inside, outside. Awake, in bed. At play, at church.

THAT is the sort of reaction that makes my heart happy and my project-lists multiply exponentially.

Speaking of Jeans and Fleece...


When did Little Miss stretch out? Her cute little stumps look like limbs now- I daresay she even looks a mite bit lanky in this picture!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

On Showing Off


If I were to give this year a word for a motto and my expectations for it a name, this years would be unquestionably and without hesitation....

Stewardship

I have been thinking a lot about stewardship these days, the good and the bad.

Perhaps it is because I look around at this new-to-us old, neglected fixer upper we just made our Home~ I see a barn littered with years of once-good-stuff turned into garbage-heaps that we are going to need to clean up; of wrinkled Encyclopedias, kitchen chairs, shoes, tools, egg cartons, lights. I see a barn that is in such disrepair I pray it doesn't fall down before we can safely pull it down. Much of this year is going to be cleaning up after another persons poor stewardship. It is easy for a soul to be pricked under these circumstances.

Maybe it is because I am flipping pages in catalogs and books and my mind as I plan, prepare and dream a new garden into reality and I think 'bigger! Bigger! BIGGER!' and then remember those summer squash I had to compost because they went bad before I could get to them~ the cucumbers that got "puky" or the pumpkins I MEANT to puree that ended up as chicken feed. It is shameful.

Whatever the reason, it just seems to be pressing on my heart. Really, stewardship is the kind of thing that you begin thinking about in droplet sized bits and then turn to find the whole bucket is full to the brim.


Stewardship is universal~ Good stewardship is required of each and every one of us, whether we are given little or much~ we are all called to it, without exception.

And it isn't just about money.

It IS about money. But is it also about time. It is also about that garden that needs weeding, the animals that need to be cared for, our widening bodies that need exercise, the fridge and pantry that need to well stocked, the dinner plates that need filled three times a day, the barn that needs painting, the rose bush that needs pruning, the children that need raising, the mind that needs sharpening, that living room that needs tidying, those dishes that need washing, the shelves that need dusting, the games that need playing, the yard that needs mowing...

Stewardship is about proclaiming Gods goodness by caring for His gifts.... and each of us, from the least to the greatest, are called to do it well.

If we don't do it well we are not only wasteful with His grace, but unthankful for those responsibilities and blessings that God has given us. Worse yet, we disgrace His name by smudging the character of God with our filth. After all, we are to reflect His attributes and I am pretty sure His attributes do not include crusty, dilapidated, filthy or uncared for.

Does a child with torn up clothes and a dirty face at the grocery store get your heart all a'flutter? Does garbage blowing across a yard make you long for a Home place? Does a stinky, nasty bathroom provide comfort?

A dirty, disgusting barn or a cluttered, messy home doesn't declare God's glory anymore than a dinner of SPAM and tatertots does.


He has made us~ His people, RICH (even us poor ones) and we ought to be showing people just how rich we are.

To show off?
YES!
To SHOW OFF!

To show off the ABUNDANCE of GOD.


In doing so, we are revealing Gods character to innocent passers-by.

But to do this properly, we must have something WORTHWHILE to show. It isn't some gnostic ideal that draws people to God. It isn't even some spiritual place that a person sees and wants for himself. Maybe it is at times, but sometimes it is even more simple than that.

Sometimes it is in those paint- flecked hands painting the window panes.
Sometimes it is in that row of lilies you planted along the lane.
Sometimes it is in the wearing the pretty dress instead of the fleece pullover and jeans.
Sometimes it is on the plate of delicious food with that pretty little garnish on the side.

Oftentimes it is the outworking of our fingertips that reveal Gods character to those who need to see.

Might my fingertips be plenty busy this coming year.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Delicata









Dinner the other night~ Delicata Bisque with homemade croutons (a touch burned) and Parmesan crisps. It was dark out, the lighting was terrible and for a split second I thought about waiting until the next day to take its' picture then wisely, took a picture anyway; the pot was scraped clean by the end of supper. Everyone lamented having so few Parmesan crisps and even the burnt croutons bits (the burnt side of the crouton that I cut off) were eaten up.

One glorious virtue of winter is a steaming bowl of SOUP.

I used the last of my garden Delicatas, now properly peach and orange with age instead of yellow and green as in summer. I lament that fact now more than ever, knowing I can't make this soup again.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A wet sponge


All week I have been feeling crummy, but the last three days have been just downright debilitating. My head. It hoits.

It finally occurred to me that all the signs point to a sinus infection. (Took me long enough.)

I've been pretty worthless during the days, not getting off the couch unless I must~ even sleeping during naptime (not something I do during my coveted free time)~and I hate being this lazy.

I would really, really like to kick this on my own, without hauling a bunch of kids to a doctors office. Anyone know anything I don't?

This morning I drank some apple cider vinegar. (Now you KNOW I am serious...)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jolly Reminder #496


In case you buy store bought eggs...THIS is the color the yoke SHOULD be.

FLUORESCENT orange.

If your egg bread doesn't GLOW, you have problems.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Day in the life of ME


A look at yesterday, a day as ordinary as they get:

5:00~ Alarm buzzes. I bang the SNOOZE and curl into Matt. Just a few more minutes.

5:30-6:00~ Get out of bed. Brrrr. Matt gets dressed, starts the fire, does chores, and heads to work. I kiss him goodbye three times. And then once more. I make myself a cup of Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea. I sit on the couch under a blanket and read. Corynn comes down and reads also. She makes tea using my teabag and thinks it a great secret.

6:45~ Children stir and make their way downstairs. Except the baby, who cries for me to get him. Andrew asks to learn to make scrambled eggs. So he makes them today. With toast and bananas. We pray the Lord's prayer together. I eat cottage cheese for breakfast and a few spoons of yogurt.

7:45~ Corynn decides to compile a riddle book using riddles from her Spelling Workout books so she sets to work. I have a hard time interrupting productive and creative pursuits in the name of 'schooling' because they too, are educational moments. I make a to-do list for the day:
  • send card to friend who is having surgery
  • mail two bills and Netflix
  • Put away laundry (five baskets worth)
  • Make trailmix
  • wash sheets and re-make Adele's bed (SOMEONE had an accident)
  • inventory clothes for a friend

I notice that Judah is waving around a sharp knife and run to take it away. He has pushed a stool to the dish drainer and gotten into the clean silverwear. Again.

8:30~ The children make a living-room size tent~ the kind that uses every square inch, every toy, every blanket, and every piece of furniture available. Read: A BIG MESS.

9:00~ They tidy up the tent and we begin 'formal' schooling. Corynn works on spelling while I work with Andrew on Phonics/reading/writing. Adele' wants to join in so I set her to work tracing lines and coloring pictures.

9:15~ Judah spills my drink and I clean it up. I throw wood on the fire.

10:00~ Corynn begins math. Andrew does some counting/number work. I throw a load of laundry into the washing machine and come back to find that Judah has drawn all over the table with a marker. I thank God for the inventor of washable markers.

11:00~ I read about The Great Composers. Corynn is still working on Math but she has eagle ears. I read a few childrens' stories for Judah and Adele' but I always catch the older two listening too.

11:30~ Andrew and Adele' play together upstairs in the Boys Room. I work on some Grammar with Corynn. I am so far behind in Grammar.

11:45-12:30~ I make lunch. Peanut Butter and Jelly for the children. Each of us prays in turn~ I start, Adele' finishes. While they eat, I read the Bible and discuss what we read and review what we have BEEN reading.

12:30- 2:30~ all the children have rest time. The older ones read, the younger ones sleep. I fix myself a party, take a picture, and blog it. I read a few blogs. I go downstairs and get my rear in gear with Jillian. I hate her. I nearly die. I throw wood on the fire-my legs are shaky. I crochet a bit.

2:45~ Snack time for the children! Trailmix and oranges. The children play for a while.

3:30-4:45~Time for History! Everyone loves history. I read half the chapter and notice that Judah has gotten into the babywipes and pulled every single one out and scattered them throughout the living room. I clean them up and finish reading. The children work together on making a diorama of Beowulf and Grendel.

Matt comes home! SURPRISE! He is usually MUCH later! He heads outside for a walk in the woods.

5:00~ I start supper. Put the wash in the dryer. Head upstairs to put away the laundry. I take Judah with me because a boy who loves to push stools up to places and then investigate is not a good one to leave alone in the kitchen while pots are on the stove. The two older ones go outside to find Papa. Evening chores are done. Adele' plays with playdoh.

5:30-6:45~ Add more wood to the fire. Judah falls backward on the stairs. Only TWO stairs worth of a fall-we are getting better! Corynn sets the table. Matt puts on Mozart. Dinner is served: Ziti Parm and pork tenderloin (we had the pork the night before too), broccoli, applesauce and homemade bread (made the other day).

6:50~ Andrew clears the table. Matt steps right up to the sink to wash the dinner dishes (okay-this was NOT ordinary...but SO VERY PLEASANT A SURPRISE!) and so I take that opportunity to sweep the kitchen and dining room. The children play.

7:00~ I go to the bathroom and, while I am there, clean the toilet.

7:15~ Everyone is waiting for me in the living room for family devotions. But first~ surgery. Andrew gets a huge sliver in his foot. I intend to knit while Matt reads but Andrew asks for me to sit by him. I do. We pray. We quiz. We laugh. We don't sing tonight, but we often do.

7:45~ Matt turns into a bull and starts butting the children. This is one of their favorite games. I know it gets serious when I have to hold Matt's glasses. Then Matt gets out a knot book and tries a few knots.

8:00~ Children get ready for bed. It takes forever. As usual. Matt tucks them in, this night.

8:15~ Matt gets his great-grandfathers diary and reads the entry for today. He gets out our Hopestead Journal and writes in it. Someday maybe our great-grandchildren will read ours.

8:30~ Matt has more work to do for work so he gets out his laptop. I sit next to him and do my own computer "work" har, har. Eventually, I get tired so I head up to bed. But then I remember I have to renew library books so I hop on the computer again and do that. I check on all the children which involves, covering them up tight and stroking their cheek with my finger and then hop into my FREEZING cold bed. I realize I didn't accomplish everything on my to-do list. I never do.

I start writing a letter.

When Matt comes to bed it is 9:45 and he catches up with the doings of Cpt. Jack Aubrey and I catch up with Abigail Adams. I can't recall what time it is we actually turn in, but I do recall how much warmer it is under the covers when there are two instead of one. Even still, I sleep with socks on.

And that is an ordinary day around here. If there is such a thing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

An Rx for WIP?


I have become a bit of a yarnie these last few weeks.

I forgot how awfully deterring it is not to have a sewing table, machine ready and waiting for your every whim. Even though I have plenty to sew up, for pleasure AND to mark things off my never-ending to-do lists, it seems so cumbersome to unearth the machine from that pile there under the cradle and find a place to plop it within reach of the ONE outlet each room seems to boast (and, as such, has already been loaded with plugs.)

Instead, I have found yarn to be my recent preoccupation of choice.

The problem is... I seem to be picking up projects as fast as I do strawberries in the spring. And being the slow crocheter that I am, the finishing isn't keeping up with the beginning.

(Matt was out of town and I snuggled in for some chickflick and crochet. There were candles lit , lots of pillows all to myself and I can't be sure, but chocolate mint ice cream may or may not have made an appearance. It was quite luxurious. Pardon the bare walls and curtainless windows. Not too homey just yet.)

A quick count, off the top of my head, of works-in-progress:

one of these dishclothes. For my sister. I only need the white rim around it.

One of these sweaters
. For Judah. In blue

A pair of mittens, minus one-but I don't know where the pattern got to and can't remember WHICH pattern it was on Ravelry. (egads!)

This hat x THREE. (Intending to make two for my girls but it keeps turning out INCREDIBLY SMALL. LIKE NEWBORN SMALL! I have increased the hook size and added rows but this vintage pattern is not doing me ANY favors.)

A knitted shawl. (Did you read the word KNITTED? !!!)

A knitted dishcloth (I am TRYING!)

Three of these bibs (just need the faces)

This copycat shawl was made using this pattern on Ravelry. The basic filet crochet shawl is done but I have not added the star border or fringe since I haven't found a pattern near enough and I am not clever enough to create one myself. I have been wearing it as is, until I decide to finish it. IF I decide to finish it.

This hat, for my nephew, to match his Christmas sweater. (I have the tiniest bit of yarn left to invert the sweater colors and make a brown hat with a turquoise stripe

And these Maryjane slippers. For me. Because I NEED them.

And that is just the projects I have ACTUALLY started. That does not include the projects I am ITCHING to start!!!

I have project piles next to my bed, next to BOTH couches, in TWO project baskets (to carry around with me) and even a project IN THE CAR. It's a sickness I tell you.

PLEASE tell me I am not the only one who has this problem?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Without Fail

This is what happens when we head outside to enjoy the unusually warm weather for WINTER and the tractor starts up in the distance:

Judahbear hears it.


He gets up and says "ruahr?", always with a question in his voice and pleading in his eyes. The boychild wants a ride.


Impatient for me to accommodate, he waves goodheartedly


and hightails it outta there.


Then, wouldn't you know?


His Papa, being the swell man he is, stops his work and gives him a bit of a ride.


Just a circle round, but that's all he wanted anyway.


Just a moment of time.


P.S. As you can see, boychild
still has the happy scowl.

P.P.S. These photos were taken awhile ago-the husband sports a very...prolific...beard as of late. For you beard-stalkers out there....you know who you are.

P.P.P.S I helped Judah across the road...for you folks curious.

P.P.P.P.S What kind of a mother do you think I AM?!?!?

Thursday, January 05, 2012

FACT


FACT: puzzles with teeny little pieces are infinitely less fun when chubby hands of destruction are nearby.



FACT: everything looks better in glass.



Fact: ladders are NOT good sleds.



FACT: Dishes and me? We don't get along. And yet, interestingly, we hang out together an awful lot.


FACT: I promised myself I wouldn't clutter the front of the fridge. Not doing so well on that. (Lists, anyone?!)


FACT: I don't feel well. Again. This is a perpetual state I have been in since Christmas. One easy way you can tell is by the oranges, something I don't often splurge on unless we are sick.



FACT: I put away the Christmas decorations and the house looked so gloomy and bare, I unpacked a string of lights for the armoire. What can I say? I need sparkle in my life.



FACT:
Having boys changes everything.