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

Friday, June 29, 2007


This weekend we are having my Sister and Bro-in-laws family over. An entire weekend, all to ourselves! I am super excited. There is nothing better than good company.

The other day, Matt said to me, "What would you think about having a few people from work come over for July 4th?" I said, "I would say it sounds like fun." He said, "Good. Because I have already invited them. Expect around a dozen!"

Needless to say, I have QUITE a bit of preparing to do for upcoming guests and this will be the last time I am on the computer for the weekend, so I might as well leave with a bang. And since I don't have one of those, I will leave with the banter of a 3 year old....

(The shadows from an overhead line transformed into a railroad track that had one train plowing on through...

and then another, chugging happily along. )


We were driving in the car the other day and happened upon a turkey vulture, devouring his roadside supper greedily, seemingly ignoring the car coming closer and closer to him. FINALLY, he begins to fly away and he flies over our car, missing the windshield by inches.
Corynn says in the backseat, "That turkey vutlar was a friendly bird!"
I thought, WHY would she say a bird EATING rotten flesh would be friendly? So I asked her.
She said, "Our other turkey vutlars (I interrupt this story to assure you we do not have any pet vutltures of any kind...) just go like this (arms spread out but staying still-making a soaring motion) but this friendly one was waving to us!"


The other day we passed our mailman driving and so I waved and said "There's George, Corynn! Wave to him!" By the time she looked up he was gone. I told her we had passed him and it was too late. When we were headed home and we passed the same spot she asked, "Where is Curious?"
I said, "WHO?"
"Curious George!"


Corynn was helping me make Strawberry Jam the other day. I already had the pectin and sugar in the bowl and she was stirring it. She put the spoon (filled with powder) up to her nose and sniffed and in doing so, snuffed some powder. At once she began crying, as it was a BIG sniff, and I can't imagine powder pectin and granulated sugar would be a comfortable thing up your nose. She was crying and kept saying about it stinging. I said, "well SILLY, why would you ever think to smell that? If you sniff powder it WILL go up your nose!" She piped up in between her wails, "It wasn't ME-it was my nose! I have a VERY NAUGHTY nose!"



I was folding laundry and Corynn came in the room with a very serious scowl on her face. I made the face back at her and said, "What seems to be the problem with YOU today, Little Miss?"
To which she replied (with great wide eyed innocence): "Oh. There is nothing wrong with me. I just was taking a picture of my baby and he wouldn't smile and I said "SMILE" but he didn't so I SPANKED HIM HARD and sent him to bed. He was a VERY naughty baby not to smile when I was taking his picture!!! "

Let me assure you-while Corynn is a VERY strict disciplinarian to her poor babies, she did NOT learn the "spank for no smile" trick from me!!!

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Thursday, June 28, 2007


Yesterday I did a bit of an experiment. Using leftover cherries and some freshly picked Apple Mint, I canned some 'Apple Mint and Cherry Juice". When it is all ready to drink, I will strain the cherries out. We'll see how it goes!
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You know you are a redneck when...

1) Sitting outside in the rain is your air conditioning.

It works though! ;-)
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You shimmy a slide up to a hill instead of a swingset.

No. Matt hasn't built the slide onto the swingset yet.

BUT. He said I was going to be getting my tire to make my sandbox today! (WAHOO times TEN!)

AND. It is perfectly handy, having the slide at an incline (no matter how it became so), especially when we put the sprinkler next to it. Half slip and slide. Half mudpit.

And all is well.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ruling the World

It is *HOT* and has been for the last three days. By 11:00 am the house is stifling, and opening the windows at night is no longer a remedy. It was 75 degrees at 1:00am last night (or rather, this morning! I know this because that is the time that I was coming home from 'crochet night' at Nancy's.

So-we go outside when we must early in the morning (to feed the starved plants their drinks, to hang clothes on the line to dry in just minutes, and to pick berries from along the roadside). The rest of the time, we are staying inside. But even INSIDE it is hot. Actually, probably MORE SO than outside because it lacks even the small gift of wind. The only bearable part in this house is the basement, and so here I am. Dawdling. Avoiding doing ANYTHING necessary, instead doing the ABSOLUTE unnecessary. But, I have had a few things to say for a while, so I might as well get them off my chest, and off my mind.

Like many others, when I first began blogging, I found great joy in finally having a voice that could reach outside of my typical, homely four walls and gathered my soapboxes with avengence. I could finally be heard and so I wasn't going to shut up. I had to voice all my opinions and all my theories-because, after all, I was RIGHT. About it ALL. (Of course, every other blog writer who writes on soapboxes thinks the same thing...) But then, as I read more and more blogs, I noticed that so many people took this new found freedom to extremes. THEY wanted to teach. PREACH. convict and convince-and by doing so, would they had elevated themselves. It disgusted me. And worse yet, I was one of them.

About the time of that revelation, I told myself-NO LONGER. This blog is going to be about my family. My joys. My creations. Us. NOT my theories. After all, WHO AM I to know all these answers? It was pride, pure and simple. So, I stopped. I stopped posting about my theories on breastfeeding and the Christian life. And I have avoided writing about anything 'controversial' ever since. Even though I am no less convinced I am right, for me. :-)

I wrote all that just to say, that while I shy away from posting such serious topics that might be met with great disagreement most of the time, I will break my own rule today. I have been taken aback by my own revelation. It happened several days ago and has not been far from me ever since.

A man stopped by the house to visit a few days back. He brought with him his new fiancee and a tape he had made in Tennessee at a real-live studio. I was casually joking with the couple, with Andrew on my hip and Corynn wrapped around my leg, and said "Corynn-remember this guy, he's gonna be famous! He's gonna make his mark on the world!" And then, the words that came from this stupid girl were, "I am gonna be famous for making babies and raising them." But I said it in some apologetic, sad way.


WHY did I say it that way? Why did I make it appear as though I had 'settled' in life, when truly and deeply-I have never felt ONE BIT of remorse. My life is WONDERFUL! More wonderful than I could have EVER asked for or even imagined. I couldn't answer my own question until it hit me. I said it because THAT is what people want to hear. Surely a woman who just has babies couldn't be HAPPY. And so...rather than speak the truth and be met with disbelief and disdain, I spoke what they wanted to hear.

And even as the last word left my lips, I was sorry I had responded in that way. Because my two treasures, glued to me 24 hours a day, seven days a week, might have heard the (albeit false) remorse in their Mama's voice and they might have felt sadness that they had caused it. Or they might have tucked it away for when they are older so that they might avoid 'settling' as I had. Praise God my children are but mere babes and will not be permenantly scarred from it. Praise GOD I learned my lesson before any damage was done.

I think it is an outright, blatent, LIE to think that women who stay at home and "make and raise babies" don't make their mark on the world. We are making and raising FUTURE LEADERS to RULE the world! How much greater a mark can we leave?!? As for now, I have two children, who will grow old and have families of their own. Matt and I will have expanded God's kingdom by three familes-(and hopefully more!)-and our children's children will grow old, have family and each of THEIR children will increase God's kingdom.

So, for the record: I am not telling these, my own truths, to you-spouting off that TODAY you should realize the power you have over the next generation, or that you should watch the words you speak-that you ONLY train our children to believe the RIGHT things, or that you should avoid lying, for it is a sin. Or that actions speak louder than words. Or even that Mothers (and fathers) leave a most monumental mark on the world.

I am saying these things to myself. Because these things are too important for me to ever forget again.

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Nearly bedtime, yesterday

After bathtime, we headed out on the patio (believe it or not, it was cooler OUTSIDE!) to read a few stories before bed. The setting sun was a brilliant golden pink color and cast its beautiful gold upon the childrens' skin, turning them so as well. So I took lots of pictures and then settled down for story time. Mattie spied my camera and, without any prompting, snapped a few shots of ME. It was really a nice thing. I don't have many pictures of me interacting with the kids, at least that are not staged, so it was a happy surprise.

Following, are some pictures of my golden children. I am rich, indeed.

Blueberries for Sal is not a solemn-ish book. I must have been making a voice here. Perhaps making a stern mama voice at the little snipe who is snitching berries by the handful...

And see that? My arms are TAN! In all my years, I think that is the most tan I have ever been. Most likely-the most I ever will be too. Pathetic, I know.
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The girl child

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the boy child

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Blooming Beauties

Now that the warm weather has arrived, my patio is looking just a *bit* different. Flowers are starting to poke their heads out of their leafy coats and the sun is doubling the size of their leaves. It is a happy time to be outside, enjoying the color God has given us.

I wanted to share an 'up to date' view of my little potted flower gardens. It makes me sad to see them all in pots, knowing that if we had our own land, they could dig their little roots deep within the earth~and we would do the same. At this place in our lives though, I am thankful that the Lord has given us a nice home even temporarily and that He has blessed us with BEAUTY to brighten our days.

Flowers are not just to be planted around the mansions, but also the cottages after all.
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Bee balm is about to bloom!

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ducks and shamrocks

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old chair turned planter

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Up close and personal...

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Thanks for looking at all my flowers. Silly to some, but I find GREAT joy in even these small little plants!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Step by Step:Pillowcase dress

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Disclaimer: I am NOT a professional. Just a lady who, when she gets an idea in her head, goes with it and gets it done by 'fudging it'. For better or for worse. There may be better ways to do this. Or more 'proper' means. But this is what I did and how I did it, for those of you who have asked. Those professionals out there...be gracious to me, ok? Or, better yet, make a PROFESSIONAL tutorial! ;-) Bear with me also, as this is my first picture tutorial ever, done only by request. Hopefully, someday, we will get high speed and it won't take an entire weekend to download the pictures for one post!

After interest was shown in pillowcase dresses and after I had already made my own method, I went surfing around and discovered this site that shares how to do a pillowcase using ribbon for the casing and sleeves. I will be trying this method out too. I also discovered THIS site that has inspiring designs to buy (or in my case, copy). I had such fun looking through the gallery/catalog and seeing all the different styles and lengths...you can even make pillowcase shirts and coordinated pantaloons! So-if this one doesn't work for you or you prefer the style of the OTHER one (or are just in need of some inspiration) check those out too. THIS tutorial is for a pillowcase 'nightgown'.

This style makes actual sleeves from fabric and uses elastic in the casing rather than ribbon. Nor does it have sewn-in 'armholes' I also made it long, utilizing the WHOLE pillowcase, since, after all, it is a nightGOWN. Keep in mind, too, this was made for my 3 year old. If you have a different aged child or want to customize the length of the dress, simply measure the length from the shoulder of your child to the length you want it to fall, adding enough fabric to form the elastic casing (you'll read about that). You'll have to customize the sleeve length as well.

Here we go:

First, find a pillowcase and iron it flat. Fold it in half vertically and trim off the closed section in a straightline, allowing 1/2 inch more than the width you would like your sleeves to be. I wanted my FINISHED sleeve to be one inch wide, so I cut the width to be 1 1/2 inches. Fold under the half inch and iron seam.

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Take a moment, now, to snap a picture of the littlest sewers hovering about your feet. This one in particular, take great delight in situating scraps around the floor, measuring them with the fabric tape, and rolling them with the little rolly do-hickey.

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NOW~this is where you can get creative or you can just get the job done. If you want your sleeves to be plain jane, simply stitch the open seam closed and move on to the steps with the body of the pillowcase.

I like to add a bit of embellishment to my sleeves, so I found a coordinated ribbon. (You can also use lace, etc.) Cut the ribbon about three inches longer than the fabric sleeve length. Stitch a basting stitch all the way down the side of the ribbon. (When basting, set your stitch length at the longest setting-remeber to switch it back when you are done!) Make sure the basting is relatively close to the edge as you want the stitching to be hidden when put in place.

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Grab one of the strings and pull, gathering it up to match the length of the sleeves, plus about an inch. Pin into place, keeping about 1/2 inch on either side. Fold the extra bit twice to lock in the raw edge. Stitch into place, close to the edge. This will give you one LONG sleeve.

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Cut it in half.
(If you are making a smaller sized dress, it will NOT equal out to be a half.) Your sleeves are done for now, so set them aside.

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Next, take a picture of the husband, lounging in your sewing room. I cropped this photo because THIS particular husband was without pants. As we most often like to be here at the Newman household.

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Grab your pillowcase and flip inside out. Measure, fold and iron down the casing, baring in mind the width of your elastic. I am using a smaller elastic this time so I measured 1 1/4 inches. Ironed. Open up the seam, the folded the edge down to meet the ironed seam. Fold THAT down again, so that the ironed edge is outside and the raw edge is hidden within.

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(For the last pillowcase dress I made, I used 1/2 inch elastic so my casing was 3/4 wide. To make the casing, I folded fabric down 1 1/2 inches.) Stitch casing, leaving an inch or two open at the end. This will be used for adding the elastic.

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Measure elastic to fit comfortably around childs chest. Add 1/2 inch to measurement, this extra will give you enough to stitch the edges together. Stick a pin in the one edge of elastic and push through the casing, all the way until you reach the opening again.

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Stitch both edges of elastic together taking care NOT to twist elastic in the casing AND making sure you make it secure. I go back and forth several times, with straight AND zigzag stitch.
Stitch the opening in the casing closed and smooth out the gathers so they are a bit more uniform.

Now, out of sheer vanity I tend to shy away from posting unflattering photos of myself. I make an exception just this once, because Matt grabbed my camera and started acting like a photographer wannabe...snapping pictures every second in every different angle shouting, "Work it BABY, WORK IT!" Too funny. So, if you have a husband like that-now would be a good time to WORK IT BABY!

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Grab your sleeves and position them where you would like them on the dress. Start on the side with the seam, making sure the seam is, in fact, on the SIDE :-) Positioning the sleeves on the back a bit more IN will decrease the chance of them falling down the shoulders. Also make sure if you have added ribbon, that it will be facing OUT on the completed project.

Stitch sleeve onto the bottom of the casing, taking care not to stitch into the elastic. After making one, I found out it is a good idea also to flip the pillowcase right side out once again and stitch the top of the casing onto the sleeve as well, otherwise, when it is being worn, the casing might flip over from time to time. Not essential of course, but still, a good thing to do.

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Now you are basically done!!! You can dress it up by stitching a little ribbon bow in front of your like, or embellishment of your choice. You can add rickrack or embroidery to the bottom edge too. THAT, my friends, is up to you!

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Finally, go have a photo shoot because you just made a pillowcase dress, nightie, or shirt! Hurray for you!

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As you can see, Corynn was very obliging.

This particular pillowcase nightgown was made from a pillowcase that Matt's (and my adopted) Gram embroidered for us, so not only is it handmade by me-it was handstitched by her. Doubly special.

As much as I have typed and as long as it has taken to upload these pictures, the process really is simple. I finish mine in about 30 minutes usually. The next one I make, I will be using the 'armhole' method, that way I can compare and see which method I prefer...let me know if you have any questions (I will TRY and answer them!) and tell me if you make one (regardless of method)! I would love to see yours!