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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Measuring Up: Feb in Review

A fast glance at February and my progress (and failings) with my 2012 resolutions because, though it has snowed more in the last 24 hours than it has all winter, Matt and I are going to go on a DATE in a few hours to an early movie (much cheaper than the night movies!) and then (I hope!) dinner.

And I have a living room full of chopsaw dust to clean up before then. (A happy, happy house project!)


It was a disappointing month for my goals.

February is always hard for me (I am not a winter person) and with Matt being gone from home so often and me in sole charge of all responsibilities around here, I wasn't in the most productive (read: sane) frame of mind.

Nevertheless, here are the stats:

House Projects of the Month: there were several!

~ I pruned the apple trees (Matt helped)
~ I lined the kitchen shelving with lace (I said ANY project, no matter how small, remember!)
~Began the stairway bookcase (Matt)
~Hung molding in kitchen (Matt)
~ and TODAY, the bathroom floor is getting replaced by Matt, hence the aforementioned wood dust.

Family Read Aloud:
  • David and the Pheonix (the older children enjoyed it but not the ending. They hated the ending.)


Three letters. One to Opa. (I was too depressed and/or strung out to write anything productive, so I didn't write anything. At all.) Pathetic, I know.

Christmas Gift Made:

I made several things this month but are giving them away before Christmas. Two crocheted baby hats. Three dishclothes for a housewarming gift. An embroidered floursack as a just-because gift.

And to set aside for Christmas- a pair of homemade (and edge-crocheted) pillowcases. I will show pictures of these things as I have time.

Exercised: The goal is three times a week and I barely squeaked by with just 12 days of exercise.

Drank 60 oz water daily: yes.

AND this month I completely stopped drinking soda. Not a drop in February. I wasn't an insane soda drinker-usually a couple times a week-but I hated that I loved drinking it so much. So this is big. Bears repeating if I do say so myself.



Added to Savings Account: yes
Added to Car fund: yes
Added to Principal of house: made a double payment.

Devotions: I forgot to keep track of this. I know I did okay but I know I could do better. Of course, we have daily devotions with the family at dinner and always at lunch...I am talking about personal, me-myself-and-I reading.

Memorization: nilch.

And that is about it: as you can see, I am hoping for a more productive March.

Happy Leap Day!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Multitude Monday: Mattie Edition

These last two months have been excruciating with Matts work pulling him away so often. But this week he has the whole.week.off and I don't have to think about how it was or how it will be or anything at all except how it is right this moment.

Unfortunately, I don't really get him all to MYSELF, since after all he is a country boy and it is syrup season. And, of course, we live in a house that has a constant list of fixer-upper projects that get added as often as things get crossed off. Maybe more.

In fact, Matt made a list of all the things he would like to accomplish this week and I am thinking it will be a miracle if I see him at all. I am praying (!!!) that I can get squeezed in here and there or I may very well deflate entirely.

But I won't think about that right now.

Instead, it is these things that are on my mind: the gifts of this week.

831. Seven days straight of falling asleep curled into his body
832. Seven days straight of waking up under the same covers
833. Seven days straight of meals, eaten together.
834. A bookcase that is being built. For the books which I have stepped around for the three months since we moved.
835. Tag-along children
836. ConnectFour tournaments at breakfast.
837. the anticipation of a no cutting-up food, no interruptions, honest-to-goodness just-the-two-of-us date? I hope, I hope.
838. a morning off from dishes
839. a new supply of maple syrup, at long last!
840. Him. Just being near.

What a lucky duck am I.

(pictures from his birthday. #35 and, as always a peanut butter frosted cake. This one took exactly 6 minutes to decorate, all the time I had- don't ask.)

holy experience

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Happy Catastrophes

Corynn was working on math functions. Andrew was sounding things out-both were calling "I need help Mama."

Adele' brings over a phonics workbook that she has deemed HER schoolwork, though she can barely draw a straight line, let alone a letter.

Judah was, as usual, flying from one room to another leaving devastation in his wake.

I had been doing laundry all day long, still trying to catch up from the hissy fit the washing machine threw the other day and hoped to have it all folded and put away before I went to bed. But at that moment I thought "It will be a miracle if I can muster accomplishing ANYTHING but school today."

As is usually the case on my great laundry marathons, I watch a movie after the kids go to bed while I fold a hundred baskets of clean laundry and in preparation of these such evenings, I always try to vacuum the rug beforehand.

Making sure the clean clothes stay clean and all that.

I help the kids and for a moment, all is silent.

I grab the vacuum and begin vacuuming. Only-it is all appearing MORE dusty and dirty than ever. Even the air turns thick. The red tug has turned grayish. WEIRD.

I turn the vacuum over and see not a thing wrong, except an empty canister where nastiness should have been.

I flip it over again and scatter. pilfer. CLUNK. A HUGE pile of dirt falls to the rug.


Well, the vacuum is broken. Dirt is everywhere. And of all days, I didn't have TIME for this.

I rolled the rug up and put it on our front porch. I put the vacuum out there too.

Then I got the broom and swept.

When one room was swept, I couldn't help noticing the dining room floor that had been neglected for two weeks. And after that-I saw the school room where Judah had just scattered petals and stems around the room from the dried flowers I had there.

Might as well sweep there too.

Then, I got out the mop to mop the last of the miniscule dust that hangs out on wooden floors under area rugs.

But since I had the mop out, wouldn't the dining room floor look nice freshly mopped too?

And the school room had some marker marks on the floor....

And so it went.

Until the whole downstairs was spiffy and fresh; on a day when I could barely think straight just moments before the chaos had happened.

It was like the proverbial oil vessel of which never did run out. Only it wasn't oil, it was time.

Gotta love it when unplanned problems turn into unplanned solutions.

Didn't plan on the vacuum breaking but neither did I plan on having a squeaky clean downstairs....

and that was a mighty nice surprise.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Hat with a bit of Norwegian Flair

I have a confession to make. I have a strange infatuation with clothing inspired by traditional garb-especially the ones with Scandinavian or Norwegian flair.

I am one of those strange girls who would be perfectly content to dress as if stepping out of a Carl Larsson painting. Or a Tasha Tudor, or Elsa Beskow for that matter-but I digress. This yearning becomes ESPECIALLY bad when I crack open one (of the many) Jan Brett childrens books we own.

Every (SINGLE) time I finish reading a Jan Brett book~ I am inspired anew to make clothes for the girls. And not just the people character costumes. Oh no no no. I love the animal ones too.

Of course, I haven't actually MADE any clothing yet. But that is beside the point.

I crocheted a bonnet recently for the wee one of a friend. I had just finished reading Jan Brett to the kids and I couldn't help myself. I had to add a bit of flair.

A few yarn lazy daisies later, I couldn't help but wonder at the extraordinary outcome of a simple act. I loved it. LOVED it.

The pictures I took of it were far from lovely though. You just need a REAL model for these things. A doll won't do. You understand.

But guess what? Her mother just happened to post a picture of her Bitty in the hat and when I saw it I swooned. She gave me permission to post it here:

Is that not the most gorgeous girl in the world? She MAKES the hat, you know. When I saw her sweet little chin and new bright eyes and that look of hesitation-my hormones did a hurdle in my gut and~ had Matt been within arms reach~ I may have just had to have a go at getting a baby of my own.

Thank you Amy for sharing a picture of your darling and for letting me post it here too.

And for producing a baby so luscious and delectable that mothers everywhere feel sudden urges to procreate.

The world needs more of those.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sappy: Maple Syrupping Pt. 1

The end of February is the beginning of syrup season.

Or at least, the time for PREPARING for syrup season.

Matts dad has the whole she-bang when it comes to syrupping~ An evaporator. Tubes and taps. A sap house and trees already marked for where the lines go every year.

It is a big job, one that requires a whole lot of time and commitment and since we have been moving here, there and everywhere in those years, we haven't had the opportunity to help out.

So his dad hasn't done it in almost four years and the maple syrup reserve that he (and we) had has long since been depleted. This is the year to make that travesty right.

Last weekend Matt, his Dad and his brothers put the main lines out in preparation for the taps and tubing. About 3-400 yards of it. I decided to help them since, well~I couldn't bear to have Matt out of my sight.

It was a gorgeous day for it. Not too much snow on the ground, clear and mild.

Then, as if on cue, it began to snow just as we had finished and began walking back to the house.

Big, gorgeous white flakes.

They anticipate tapping a couple hundred trees or so but that is a job for another day.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Apple Discord

(my apple pruning helper...)

Right now is THe time to prune your dormant fruit trees. Like say.....the very very VERY neglected apple trees that beg for mercy every time you step outside.

"Cut us down! Prune Us. ANYTHING. JUST STOP IGNORING US!" they cry.

I knew nothing about pruning other than now is the time to do it so I did what any person does last minute. I went to youtube. After a few youtube videos on the subject (thank you youtube) and a talk with my horticulturalist brother in law, I took things into my own hands.

(the before pictures of our trees)

One thing everyone says is to prune apple trees over a three year period so as not to distress the trees too much all at once. So I didn't do all the pruning I could, but my goal this year was to open up the trees for good air circulation and sunlight. (That too is really important.)

Well, I took things into my own hands.....until my hands (and arms) started to hurt really really bad, that is.... and I still had a monster of a branch to cut down. Then I took things into Matts hands-or rather, his chainsaws 'hands'. (Hey! I had a handsaw. HE had a CHAINSAW!) He helped me out. He is swell like that. But, he didn't exactly LIKE it. I could tell when I asked him to cut that he didn't think I was right.

The conversation went something like this:

me: "Mattie-the most important thing about apple trees is that they need good air circulation and sunshine-so the centers need to be open. So-can you cut down this branch here for me to expose the center please?

Mattie: "uhhhhhhh. You mean the TRUNK?"

me: "that isn't the trunk it is just the SIZE of the trunk. And it is in the center. And the guy on youtube says you need to be able to throw a hat through the center without touching any branches."

(For reasons unknown to me, he starts laughing here.....)

Mattie: "But didn't you say that you are supposed to only prune 1/3 of the tree each year over a three year period?"

me: "yes. it is only ONE cut."

Mattie: "But it is over half the tree!"

me: "JUST CUT IT!"

Mattie: "Okay-but when these trees die, it will be your fault."

me: "They aren't going to die. YOU didn't watch any pruning neglected fruit tree videos. DID YOU? You know NOTHING."

So when my apple trees (because when you go to the trouble of watching youtube for them and then kill your arm muscles pruning them, they become yours) are bearing lots of fruit and looking all gorgeous because they can bask in sunshine all day and breathe easy-I will have PROOF that I was right.

A sort of virtual I-told-you-so. Unless I fail. In which case, this post will mysteriously disappear....

All this fruit tree business has got me to thinking more about what fruit tree I would like to plant this year (one of my goals for the year.) With any luck, the apple trees will be producing again in no time so while I would like to plant some new apple trees at some point....I am thinking this year I ought to branch out (pardon the pun) and expand my varieties. I am thinking peach. Oh MY, how I love peaches.

That gets me to thinking about summer and the established grapevines at the old house that I had to leave behind...even some that were given to us from a friends own vines. :-( And that gets me to thinking about the huckleberry patch at my in-laws and maybe digging up a few transplants?

And before I know it, one thing leads to another and I have just made more work for myself....

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Messy (A blog post where I admit my failings in order to prolong the inevitable .)

I am sitting in the Spare Oom which is not a spare room at all since there is no room for a spare bed in it. Rather, it is more like a "Catch All" room that is just big enough for our mansion-sized office desk and computer and my excessive amount of craft supplies and a very lonely cradle which has no place else to go and no one else to fill it. And yet, I still call it the Spare Oom. It fits, even though it doesn't. Kinda like my pants.

Last week (two weeks ago?) my sister (who is in the process of moving into her new home) asked me over to look through bags (and bags and bags and bags) of yarn that was left at her new house for her to take care of. It was 8 garbage bags (or cans) full, if I remember correctly. I was as good as I *could* be given it was free yarn *yarn is expensive, people* and in many cases there were skeins and skeins of the same color. How can a girl turn that down? I came home with two garbage bags full.

TWO garbage bags full. (And that was good?)

But you see, I left SIX garbage bags full of beautiful free yarn there. Let's think about it THAT way, shall we?

Even still, I really have NO room for more yarn. I have a LOT of yarn as it is. Dear me.

So last night I decided I would go through the bags again-sort it and find a place to put it. But the Spare Oom is SMALL, I tell you! And there is NO ROOM at the Inn.

So, the floor is covered with skeins of yarn that need a home but can not find one. The desk is full of paperwork that need stamps or filed or sorted. There are wrapping paper rolls because of a boy named Judah who can't NOT touch things to save his life (double negative. bad bad.) and there is a girl, who sits in the midst of it all...blogging.

I almost took a picture of the nightmare to post but couldn't bring myself to do it. Instead I leave you with a picture of my foot (how generous!) that I found on the camera that Matt took. Proof that, winter, spring, summer or fall-I am usually barefoot.

But in the winter, it is decidedly more chilly.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentines Day

On Valentines Day....

There was plenty of baking sweet treats in the kitchen, decorating the house with hearts, and a fancy pink and white homemade cake for dessert.

There were plenty of wax-sealed love notes to go around (Papa couldn't wait!) and heart blankets brought out from the dressers.

Mama got lovely roses and a box of chocolates and the children had a sweet party with friends in the evening.

Even Grandma had a new PINK Valentine project to start in her favorite spot: warm and snuggly by the fireplace and Grandpa.

The Dolls had a splendid day.

(sorry about the very poor photos...sadly, there is only one spot for our wall-sized dollhouse and that is in the darkest possible spot in the house-the darkest of dark hallway.)

As for me, it was a splendidly ordinary day except the children and I lingered longer at the books before bedtime and after they were settled in for the night, I had a glass of wine and two Lindt chocolates in bed.

Happy Valentines Day! Hope yours was grand.

Monday, February 13, 2012

What to Do when Your Husband Doesn't Give You What You Need

It was a Sunday morning, two days after returning from a week out of town, when he said "I have something to tell you."

And you know, you just know... it is going to ruin the day.

And he says "I have to go out of town again next week."

Again? AGAIN? But he promised THIS time is would be different. THIS time he would not be away from home so much, THIS time he would put his foot down and set his priorities right.

This time.

But this is the third week out of four that he has been gone. And it is the week that houses his birthday AND Valentine's Day. And more importantly than ANYTHING, I NEED him here.

I am tired of doing it all, all by myself. I am tired of tucking four little, rambunctious children into bed each night and changing every single diaper and answering the 'boy questions' and leading family worship. I am tired of doing chores and taking out garbage and homeschooling and cooking and feeding a fire. I am tired of being a mother AND a father.

I am desperate. I can get through the school day and the dinner dishes and the fire starting if I had him to appreciate me. If I only felt cherished. If I only felt loved. But how can I feel love when I am lucky to speak to my husband once a day and to go to bed each night alone? How am I to feel cherished when my husband doesn't have time for me? When I can't kiss him? How can I keep doing what I am doing without him to comfort me and acknowledge my work?

"He can't do this to me again. I can't do this. I don't WANT to do this." I think.

He says "I don't understand. Normally you are so strong."

But I am weak. Very, very weak. Doesn't he SEE? He doesn't understand how weak even though I try to explain. I plead.

I feel abandoned. He made the choice to go back to work and I hated it and now, because of him, I live a life that leaves my children fatherless and me desperate and unlovely and alone. And I am stuck here, to be housemaid and schoolteacher and farmer and cook, all alone. This is my new life. And I don't want it. And I tell him so.

I get angry. I become very unlovely, indeed. My face is swollen with desperate tears and my words can't be taken back. But I don't want to take them back~they are real. I apologize for the venom, but not for the truth.

My tank is empty. It has been for two months. I've been running on fumes and I have done what I had to do while he is gone-but there is nothing left. I am spent.

Hours pass. I cry at every whim. But the venom I spit has left a strange hollow in me. A quietness. A tiredness. And in the quiet, I am stirred.

Matt can't give me what I need. I love him so much, but he can't.

And it occurs to me, I have been wrong to ask that of him. I have been looking for my tank to be filled, but I haven't been going to the right place. I've been going to the movies, instead of the gas station. I haven't gone to the Filler of tanks.

Maybe that is why divorce is so prevalent within the church? Because people realize they can't be fulfilled by their spouses? So they give up and move on, looking for fulfillment, without making the next, most crucial step of realizing the truth~

The truth that being fulfilled comes from somewhere else-SomeONE else.

You can seek it all you want~ fulfillment~ but you will never, ever, ever find it until you look in the right place.

I realize, too, that I have been blaming Matt for my shortcomings when the truth of it is....it is me. Me floundering. His heart need to safely trust in me. That means, when he is gone I HAVE to do the dishes. I HAVE to take care of the children. I HAVE to clean the house and keep the fires going and lead family worship. I HAVE to do chores and finances and schooling. That is what being a helpmeet is. That is what being a wife is. And I have to do it joyfully. That is what being a Christian is.

When your tank is dry and you are running on fumes~ go and get a Fill Up. Pray for strength. Pray for strength. Pray for STRENGTH.

Don't go to the grocery store. Don't go to the movies. Go to the Gas Station. Don't ask your husband to give your soul the rest it needs, He can't. Ask God. He can.

When times are desperate and the trials seem too much to bear~ stop thinking of yourself.

Think of Abigail Adams, who spent many years of married life alone and with responsibilities to the household, law firm and farm placed squarely on her shoulders.

Think of Juris Wippe, and the letters he wrote on his deathbed. Letters to his wife. To his children. Think about receiving such letters.

Think of George Muller and sitting down to an empty dinner table surrounded by dozens of hungry bellies and thanking God for his provisions, in faith, without a lick of food on the table.

Remember that God wants obedience in all circumstances and realize that your circumstances could be much, much worse.

When all you want to do is give up~ give thanks. Get happy. Count your blessings.

I stopped counting for a while. Now is a very good time to begin again.

#818: forgiveness

#819: startling realizations

#820: safe travels

#821: my husband, who has a birthday today

#822: God preserving my Darling from: death by waterski, death by electrocution, death by fire, dealth by ice hook, death by drowning, and many other deaths throughout his life.

#823: another shirt to smell as I sleep

#824: a friend who shares personal secrets for my help

#825:a winning streak

#826: straws to make sulfur water go down faster

#827: homemade strawberry wine and candles, dropped off this week by my sister-in-law

#828: old men who buy their wives flowers for Valentines Day, a day early. I saw it. They made more than their wives happy, they made ME happy.

#829: a washing machine that sputtered back to life miraculously and has given me a few loads of clean laundry before it has another 'poor spell'

#830: this verse:

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"

~Philippians 4:13

holy experience

Friday, February 10, 2012

Waxflowers, Spice and Everything nice

Unfortunately for me, this gorgeous bouquet won't be staying.

It is a hostess gift for a little dinner party planned for this evening (no pizza night this week!) and I wish it were mine. I wish Matt would buy me flowers every week. My Opa did for HIS wife! Not roses or anything, just something a little wild and imperfect and sweet.


If only I could justify buying myself beautiful flowers every week.

Blue Waxflowers, the most romantic-colored peach Stock (oh, I love the spicy smell of stock! I could drink it.) and a jar, dressed up for the occasion. I get to enjoy it for a few more hours.

(I modpodged fabric to a jar headed toward recycling ~NOT one of my precious canning jars!~ and then tied it round with a bit of lace and some cotton twine.)

Hope your weekend is beautiful.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

A Happy Girl

He was supposed to be gone until Friday night but I just got a call saying he will be home in time for supper~ TONIGHT!

Now I have an entire house to clean in about 30 minutes, a lasagna dinner to make and a goofy smile plastered on my face.

I am a happy girl.

(And his shirts can go in the dirty clothes. I'll be sniffing HIM tonight thankyouverymuch.)

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Angels in the Sun (and other nonsense)

A post of all the bits and ends tangling up in my mind today.

The morning sun came in through the window one morning this week and streamed a path into the kitchen, landing in only one spot-the angel food cake. It was pretty. And gold. And for a moment, I felt rich.


I went to Salvation Army today and picked up sheer curtains for the living room for $1.00 a piece. There were 8 of them, all matching~ enough for one for each window in the living room. My plan is to use the sheer curtains to "feminize" and soften the burlap curtains I will be making whenever I actually buy the roll of burlap.

I know, I know. Burlap for curtains may freak you out (it did Matt at first) and it may freak *ME* out when I actually see it in real life, but in my mind it all just 'works'. Today I am one step closer to living room curtains and at a very small fraction of the price.

O happy day!


Our washing machine died. Again. This time, though, there will be no resuscitation. It doesn't even try. And the mountain of clothes mocks my pain.


Matt is out of town for the week which means a couple of things-mainly, I am very UNPRODUCTIVE during the day and very PRODUCTIVE at night. The meals are very simple. Schooling is my priority-but not cleaning, so the house is kindof a mess.

I have tried to do a bit of 'fun stuff' at night to feel better about being alone.
All Alone.

I borrowed Season 1 of Downton Abbey (thanks to you who suggested it to me~ you know who you are!) and have been watching that each night. I also picked up a new little 'something' to occupy my time while I watch.


I haven't done embroidery in AGES and I forgot how fun it is. Especially when it involves being escorted by a Tomato. Too fun.


Every time I publish a post in blogger I get a glimpse of my 'followers'. I don't MEAN to, it just happens. Last week, that number went down by FOUR and I simultaneously wondered what I might have 'done wrong' and got angry with myself for even caring. It is pathetic, I know.

I really shouldn't care. I
REALLY shouldn't.

But why don't you like me anymore?!? (
whine, whine.)
Don't Answer That


Almost all of our (big) glasses have broken recently and I was *REALLY* thirsty. I usually use canning jars but they were WAY down in the BASEMENT.(rolls eyes) So I did this:

I was desperate, I tell you.

Monday, February 06, 2012

If you feed them, they will lay

Any chicken owner knows that THAT is not always true. In fact, in winter no matter how hard you try, egg-laying is cut WAaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy back to basically, non-existent.

Except for us this year, apparently.

When we moved our chickens stopped laying eggs altogether. When a few do-gooders began to lay again, they were laying them in barns or in the field or under trees.... so for two months straight we had no eggs. It got so bad, I had to BUY eggs.

BUYING eggs at the store is very depressing when you are feeding an entire flock of chickens at home, let me tell you.

But for over a month now, our chickens have been making things up to us. We gather about 15 eggs a day, sometimes on a slow day, 10 eggs.

Really, if you look at the ratio of chicken to egg, it ain't a pretty picture (more than half our flock are practically begging to be butchered) but even still, this is a lot of eggs. Worse yet, since our move, we lost our egg customers which means two things:

1) We are swamped with eggs
2) We are paying for their feed all by ourselves. Feed was once entirely paid for by egg sales and now is not-and for a flock full of lazy hens to boot!

We use a dozen eggs every morning for breakfast when they are scrambled. (That is just the children, mind you.) Dippy eggs are about two each. And when we get sick of eating eggs and the children BEG for a cereal day, I make them raw eggnog to drink WITH their cereal. (Don't let the word raw freak you out. It is DE-LICIOUS, just as tasty as storebought though not as thick and extremely healthy without a worry of salmonella since I know and trust the egg source. wink)

And yet, we are still being swamped with eggs.

Thanks to our church congregation who doesn't mind (or at least let on that they mind) all the egg contributions I have been bringing for snack!

One week I hardboiled 2 dozen eggs and made deviled eggs.
One week I hardboiled 3 dozen eggs and made egg salad.
One week I made quadruple batches of homemade pudding and two angel food cakes (they didn't make it to church though) using 16 eggs.

I think next week calls for a crustless quiche. What say ye?

It is a problem, but it is a HAPPY problem.

PS. One day the children gathered a Lilac-colored egg and that was the thrill of the week. I promised to blow it out to save the shell for admiration purposes and then one morning cracked it into scrambled eggs before I realized what I was doing! What a dork I was to ruin a LILAC colored egg! ugh.

PPS. For the curious, we have Golden Wyandotte, Ameraucana, Leghorn, Barred Rock, Australorp, Black Sex Link, Rhode Island Red and Buff Orpingtons all represented in our not-so-little flock. But I think I would really love to add a Copper Maran or two so I could get these lovely little presents every now and again: