Our very good friends, Jon and Greta, have not had a family picture done in years. With eleven children, it gets sort of complicated getting everyone together and looking in the same direction. I have promised them I would take one and, with only a few short weeks left, figured I had better make good on that promise and quick. And we DID it!!
We spent our Sunday afternoon together at the lake, hours and laughter mingling into one wonderfully satisfying day. We came home and basked in the afterglow of such a good visit. Of those hours, we spent five minutes snapping pictures. No photos of toes buried in sand, sopping wet giggles, sparkly eyed laughter, rolling down hills or climbing tire walls... my heart was too full and occupied with soaking every last drop up of real, in-person conversation and face-to-face smiles. These days will be fewer now, but good friends will last, even despite miles.
This last photo plus the Newman Four (and a half).
These days will be remembered and future visits like this, though less frequent, anticipated.
As you can see, life hasn't really involved any packing lately. You can't pack if you don't have boxes! Still waiting on the first load of boxes to be picked up~ have to fix the truck first because our cobalt, stuffed with children, doesn't hold boxes. PERIOD.
Unfortunately, grass hasbeen planted in our garden in preparation for our move so again, one more year, I am without the joy of digging in dirt, planting, harvesting, and drowning in fresh produce. Parden me for just a moment....
Counting my blessings though, that there is an Amish roadside stand very near our home. We are enjoying the fruits of THEIR labor for now, while we still can. Enjoy we did! Before that container even got in the door it was more than half gone!
PS. Here is a weird tidbit on me: I hated cherries until about... last year! Those maraschino (sp?) cherries were all I had ever tasted and even just the THOUGHT of them repulsed me. Only last year did I try my first fresh cherry and....wowee! So glad I did! Thankfully, my children have a headstart on the cherry-lovin' department!
Just when I thought I was through with snakes for a while...
Dutchess cornered a 4.5 FOOT long black snake on our patio.
She was in her glory, let me tell you! Our dog is a country dog, through and through. She lives the life, Dutchess does. She gets to tromp free from chains and doors for most of each day, she gets to chase and corner all manner of creatures, she gets to feel all important and accomplished by counting the scalps on her belt, and she gets to constant play and treats from her human brother and sister. Yeah. And she barks real loud. That HAS to make you feel good from time to time.
Eventually, the snake was getting a bit too nervous with this dog lunging and barking at her-and began it's escape UP OUR HOUSE! The thing made it to the roof before turning around! I had never seen anything like it before.
With our move looming ahead in the not so distant future, I realized I ought to start posting my plant profiles with more speed. So, I'll be posting several plants at a time from now on so that I can hopefully get through them all before it is too late!
Evening Primrose, self-sowing biennial
Evening Primrose blooms from June to September
Evening Primroses are very popular ornamental plants in gardens. For propagation, the seeds can be sown in situ from late spring to early summer. The plant will grow successfully in fertile soils if competing species are kept at bay. Evening primrose species can be planted in any ordinary, dry, well-drained garden soil (preferly sandy loam) in an open site that is sunny to partly shady. They are fairly drought-resistant.
Interesting Tidbits: the entire plant is edible and often thought, medicinal.
The leaves are cooked and eaten as greens and the roots are said to be sweet succulent and delicious when boiled like potatoes. Flowers are a sweet addition to salads or as a garnish and young seedpods are Steamed. This plant was a staple food for many Native American tribes.
Foliage height ranges from 6 to 18 inches; flower spikes can reach 24 inches tall.
Spacing: 24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
Coral bells have quickly become one of my favorite perennials. The teeny flowers are beautiful all summer long and they attract some of my favorite creatures. So the verdict is, they can stay!
Select a site with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. In areas with hot summers, light shade is preferred.
Planting Instructions Plant in spring or fall, spacing plants 1 to 2 feet apart depending on the variety. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the plant's container. Carefully remove the plant from its pot and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly.
Care Remove dead foliage in early spring, then apply a thin layer of compost, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Cut back flower stalks after blooms fade. Divide plants in early spring every 3 or 4 years or when the stems become woody or the plant falls open at the center. Lift plants, divide the root ball into clumps, and replant.
A hearty and dependable perennial, tolerant of many different conditions. After flowering in late May and June, their sword-like foliage remains attractive throughout the growing season. Wonderful when combined with low lying plants.
Height: 24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
Spacing: 18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
Most iris need very well-drained soil. Japanese and Louisiana iris will grow in wet soil. If your soil is not ideal you can amend it with organic matter and build raised beds for better drainage.
Remove old blooms and stalks promptly after flowering to allow the plant to devote its energy to growth rather than seed. Removing old blooms and stalks also encourages repeat flowering on reblooming iris.
Can be transplanted during the summer and early fall. Container-grown iris can be planted in the spring.
Iris takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, referring to the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species. As well as being the scientific name, Iris is also very widely used as a common name and refers to all Iris species as well as some closely related genera. It is also the state flower of Tennessee. Who knew?!?
After quite a long bout of no energy and motivation only to sleep and eat saltine crackers, I have noticed myself getting back into the swing of things more, even to the point of dabbling in my craft room! I haven't finished any monumental projects, more like I have just dipped my big toe into the water to test to see how it feels, whether I can hack it or not.
So far, it is the perfect temperature! I decided I wanted to make something for Bunkin and I was reunited with this gorgeous vintage-y baby fabric that just oozes cuteness when I was sorting through fabric. I bought a yard of it long before Bunkin was a speck in my eye, just because I loved it so.
I opted to make some burp clothes. Way more snazzy than the cloth diapers I used to use! Since we don't know (and won't) just WHAT Bunkin will be (in the form of gender, that is....we ARE hoping for human! hehe) I made them as gender neutral as possible. Blue ric-rack, but a pale blue. Purple Satin stripe and polka dots, but not too feminine that it can't be used for a boy.
And just for giggles, I experimented with styles. I love the satin ribbon and can imagine a newborn snuggling into it and feeling all warm and cozy with soft flannel and smooth satin rubbing against their baby soft cheek, but the boxy is not all that original. I like the shape of the other one better~ narrows at the shoulder and widens for coverage, at the bottom. So- I still don't know which is my favorite. Truth be told, looking at both of them makes me happy inside. That cute yellowfabric does that to me. And the thought of Bunkin actually using them. That does it too.
Not particularly crafty: but here to remind me to get into that mending box every now and again...
One particular day, actually-the first day I revisited my craft room in probably a month!, I had the itch to get the machine humming but I had NO idea what to make. I didn't really relish the idea of drowning in this huge project, either. I mean, the desire to do SOMETHING was burning within me. I just HAD to sew to feel better! Ever get that way, or is it just me?
My mind was blank so I opted to go through my mending box for inspiration and busywork. Wowza! I couldn't believe my eyes! I found three GORGEOUS smocked dresses that I bought at some yard sales last year (that I didn't know needed hemmed until I got home-not that it would have mattered much.) If I wouldn't have found them this summer, it would have been too late for Corynn to wear them-and that would be a shame!
That day, I mended 7 dresses for Corynn and two adult shirts in just less than an hour. (Corynn's armoir is now BRIMMING with dresses!)
It was A PERFECT way to give in to the 'stitch itch' and afterwards, I still got the fabulous feeling of accomplishment as I looked upon the huge pile of clothes, made wearable by me!
There are a few myths flying around about families who survive on one income.
Here are a few:
1) The true skeptic believes "It just can't be done! Not with MY family!"
2) The eternal pessimist believes that the only way to survive on one income is to reuse toilet paper.
3) The cynic believes that any woman who doesn't work and create income in some way does not contribute anything at all to the family, is a lazy mooch.
Here I am, taking it upon myself, to dispel any myths one might have:
1) It can be done. Look around. It IS being done. And very well, by many! It is all in the priorities you have.
2) Well, frankly, that is just GROSS. Sure, one income means being thrifty but golly. That is just wrong.
3) This is the one where I get my panties all in a bunch and start contorting my face into all sorts of weird faces trying not to explode onto people. I hate it when people assume this-because, let me tell you-I work HARD! This is the one that I need to write about today. And yes, I do mean NEED to. The air needs to clear.
People who have these viewpoints are misinformed (to say it kindly) and ought to be 'shown the light'. Not only that, but women who do live on a one-income need to own up to the responsibility THEY have in their families' financial state.
We live on one income: Matt is the sole 'bread winner' of the family. That said, I contribute an equal share of dollar signs to our family budget in the form of stretching every penny. What Matt works hard to earn each day, I work hard to save each day. To say it another way: Matt goes off to work each day to earn money-he devotes time and energy to earning wages and anticipates the end result. In the same way: In my home, I devote time and energy to saving wages and I anticipate the end result. Matt's work is to care for cows. My work is to stretch every single penny to be used as wisely as possible and to save the difference. Ultimately, both put income into the family pot.
When I buy clothing at yard sales, salvation army, on serious clearances or if I make them: the money I am saving by not buying brand-new, name brand clothes is what I am contributing to the family.
When I make homemade biscuits for $.07 cents a piece rather than a box mix for $4.00, the difference is what I have saved for our family. These are real numbers. Real contributions to the betterment of our financial situation.
When I cut coupons and shop CVS, and come out of there with a brimming cart and just cents missing from my pocket, that is just me putting in the hours at WORK : making good use of our money and stretching it to mean more.
I don't like to think of myself as FRUGAL, per se, because being CHEAP is not really something to be proud of. The bible speaks of generosity being a GIFT, one that ought to be poured out easily.
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. ~ Romans 12:8
I guess I prefer the term: THRIFTY.
To be thrifty with finances means a couple things:
1) You recognize your limitations. This means, if you don't have the money for it~ even if you REALLY REALLY REALLY want that daybed (or that set of sheets on clearance-or that pizza)~you don't get it because you REALIZE that you can't afford it. Debt is no joke and every time you spend money that you don't need: you are affecting the financial state of your family. It's on your head.
2) You make every penny worth something. You know where your money goes, at all times, and you don't lose it. That means: you avoid late fees-(poof! That money has vanished and meant absolutely nothing except: you failed). You avoid fast food- the only thing that penny was worth was a few pounds. Budgets are important. Your money is too valuable to waste on...nothing.
3) You are able to be generous where you OUGHT to be. The only way to have extra money to help others with, is to not piddle it away buying 'this and that'. At least, if you don't have lots of excess money floating about. Save your money for the IMPORTANT things.
4) You are CONTENT. This is the biggie, I think. If you are content with what you have-then it is easy to let go of squandering dollar bills. You don't see that fancy shmancy kid toy, quilt, sofa, yada yada with envy and somehow equate that item with happiness. DUH! That stuff doesn't make you happy! In fact, that stuff is what CLUTTERS your home! That stuff is the stuff you curse every time you have to clean it, move it, unclutter it, etc. Personally, buying unnecessary stuff just because it is "cool" makes me feel like LESS of a person, not more. Because I am failing to do my job with wisdom and discretion.
5) You make sacrifices. A person CAN live on one income successfully. Even if that one income is not triple digits-or even high DOUBLE digits. I have recently investigated Dave Ramsey and that man has helped SO many people! I have heard stories of people who made 37,000 a year and paid off 75,000 debt in just three years! Now. That is unbelievable! Take your job seriously!
6) You get creative. Think about ways to achieve your goals 'outside of the box'. I can lower my grocery bill by gardening. We can buy a cow to butcher instead of paying outrageous store prices, etc. Using creativity, your home can become a palette of richness-without spending a fortune. Paint, use fabric, and rearrange to create a more inviting look to a home, without the cost. Be good stewards of the gifts you have been given.
7) Be patient. Wait on God to fulfill your needs instead of trying to force it on your own.
All the efforts I do to seek out sales, cut coupons, create things myself instead of buying them at the store~ all these things are ways to keep money into our account. And that is JUST as important as getting the money into the account.
We stay-at-home Moms really need to be aware of the impact WE have on the family finances. If you are in a real tight spot right now, don't automatically blame your hubby for not making enough money. How are YOU contributing to your family? Are you whittling away each penny on latte's, clothes, toys, and STUFF. Are you buying things you can't afford and then letting your money vanish in late fees and interest rates?
Knowing that we contribute to our family income should give us a measure of pride. At the very same time, it ought to make us sober. We need to take our JOB seriously.
We, of course, need to work at it more than our workforce-women counterparts. But never, ever, never fall for the lie that workforce women contribute to the family and you don't.
Amish men have been working on the house, board by board, paint streak by paint streak since February. There are several Amish men working on it as we speak. As you can see~ there is much to be done. Like.... everything! The kitchen looks more like a junkyard and the bathrooms~ well, I didn't even share pictures of them! No toilets or anything.
I don't know if the house will be ready to be moved into in four weeks. I hope so. SINCERELY hope so. Otherwise, we might be livin' the hotel life for a while. Even if it can be moved into~ it is likely we will be around construction workers for a while longer.
I already consider this place "home". I fell in love from the moment we drove up. I dream about it at night, talk about it during the day, and anticipate the time when we can live in it. There is such beauty in the house, even in the dust piles and peeking insulation. I will enjoy watching the beauty unfurl before my eyes.
In the comments section, my friend Kris shared this poem. I enjoyed it SO much that I would like to share it here for EVERYONE to see. Not to mention: I am going to print it, frame it and hang it where I can read it often. I love it. Thank you for thinking of me-and taking the time to share such a lovely poem Kris! It is so fitting for this new adventure we have embarked on.
IMAGINATION by Edgar Albert Guest
The dreamer sees the finished thing before the start is made; She sees the roses pink and red beyond the rusty spade, And all that bleak and barren spot which is so bare to see Is but a place where very soon the marigolds will be.
Imagination carries her across the dusty years, And what is dull and commonplace in radiant charm appears. The little home that she will build where willows bend and bow Is but the dreamer's paper sketch, but she can see it now.
She sees the little winding walk that slowly finds her door, The chimney in its ivy dress, the children on the floor; The staircase where they'll race and romp, the windows where will gleam The light of peace and happiness - the house that's still a dream.
You see the weeds and rubbish there, and ugliness and grime, But she can show you where there'll be a swing in summertime. And she can show you where there'll be a fireplace rich with cheer, Although you stand and shake your head and think the dreamer queer.
Imagination! This it is the dreamer has today; She sees the beauty that shall be when time has cleared the way. She reads the blueprint of her years, and she can plainly see Beyond life's care and ugliness - the joy that is to be.