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, April 27, 2012

A Quote. Because I love them.

Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. 
~ William Faulkner

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

On the couch

 Continuing on with my out-dated photos blog roll that I am on... I give you two pictures from months ago. 

Me on the couch while very very sick with sinus infection and migraine and fevers and my little Judahbear climbed up on me just to be close and ended up falling asleep.  And with that, he made me feel just the tiniest bit better without even trying.

And Miss Addie Mae snuggling with a Birthday Papa.  She knows she has got him, doesn't she?

PS.  I have always been irritated by the word verification, and never moreso than lately when it is so hard to read and finnicky.  Then I was told others were having problems with it too (Thanks Lisa!) SO, I said "Good riddance with ya!" and turned it off.  Until I get bombarded with SPAM and I need to figure out a new alternative- anyone can comment and do so EASILY.  ;-)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Peanut turned Panda turned Cowboy turned 6 year old.

The Peanut-turned-Panda-turned-Cowboy turned six a few weeks ago and had pretty much the best birthday ever. Nanny (that would be my Mom) made him a cake on the day before his birthday when we came over for dinner. He thought it was pretty amazing to be getting TWO cakes-one from her and the other from me.

On his actual birthday, Matt was supposed to be out of townall week and that was pretty depressing for everyone involved.  I decided that perhaps inviting Matts parents over for cake might brighten the birthday boys spirits and, in a very small way, make up for missing his Papa.

But after dinner and after presents, what should appear but two headlights in the driveway; two headlights that drove almost four hours home so they could share in Da-Doo's birthday bash.

So yeah.  Best birthday ever.

Andrew struggled for days with the terribly difficult decision of choosing a cow, a dragon or a skeleton cake.  Eventually, he could bear it no longer and told me he wanted me to surprise him.

(Between you and I, this was my favorite option!)

Knowing my Cowboy-Farmer well, I knew it had to be (yet ANOTHER) cow cake.  And knowing my own limits well, I knew the cow would be plastic and not sugar.

We went to Wegmans bulk candy section and I told each child they could pick ONE piece of candy.  I have never done this before and the children were amazed at their luck.  The choice of ONE candy took longer than my finding and bagging up all the candy I would need for the cake (rootbeer barrels, gray M&Ms, tootsie rolls, and a bit of Mary Jane sweetness. It worked out smashingly well, I might add.

Andrew was shocked and awed by the cake, which is the point after all. He told me later that he loves the surprise cakes I make because they have presents on them.

 I get the idea that this will be his method for the foreseeable future.  All to get more "hard plastic cows", he calls them.  Not cows.  Not toy cows.  Not soft plastic cows.  Hard plastic cows.

And there IS a difference, you know.

 Also that day we went and got him his very own library card. Oh-what a day it was. A six-year olds dream.

Or, at least, MY six year olds'.

Friday, April 20, 2012

People these days

Is it really Friday already?  Seriously?  Boy, did this week fly by.  

This whole blogging bit slows down drastically when life speeds up and I guess life has  won over the last two weeks.  This is heartening to me, though, because not blogging regularly isn't something BAD-but something actually GOOD.  I like to think that my inconsistent blogging reveals that the real consistency is where it ought to be- lived out in the day to day.

Basically, what I am saying is, I think my priorities are right.

Now is a great time to thank you (THANK YOU!) all for coming to visit me even if I don't make a job out of blogging; even if my blog posts are a wee bit on the sporadic side and even if, when I do blog, I blather on about silly stuff because I don't have time to do the deep stuff swirling around my head justice.

 This week, in particular, has been a flurry of activity.  Monday was a congregational meeting with our church.  Tuesday I spent 4 hours learning to spin (and got to borrow a spinning wheel to practice on!).  Wednesday I spent hours changing organizing the granary.  Thursday I spent the day wallpapering.  Saturday my sister, my Mom and I are going out to breakfast to celebrate Moms birthday.  These big cornerstones of the week were surrounded by the many little drop-in-the-bucket pebbles of...laundry, housecleaning, schooling, organizing, cooking, reading and surprise visitors dropping by nearly every day.  It has been crazy.

A few chatty things about last nights' escapades, for your entertainment.  (Or not.)

~ Last night after wallpapering most the day away, I took the two littlest to the store to get a mirror for the bathroom.  I had seen one that was PERFECT last week; just what I was looking for, perfect for the space AND on clearance at Big Lots.  

I didn't buy it at the time because I wanted to talk to Matt about it first, I wanted to measure the space, I wanted to see if it would be further reduced and I had to wait for Matts paycheck.

So last night I go there and look-and ta-da!  It was still there.  One left!  Way too high (and way too heavy) for me to safely bring down so I went to the counter to get a  worker.  Then-seconds later.  SECONDS.  RIGHT BEFORE MY VERY EYES, a lady finds a sales clerk walking around and asked to buy it.  The sales lady was taking it down and I said, in absolute shock:  

"Are you buying that or just looking?"

She practically snarled at me that she was buying it. 

To which I responded with an inaudible groan of shock and disbelief.  My jaw was literally on the floor and I was frozen.  

As in, could not move.

And the lady got this most awful, smug smile on her face-turned and walked away.

I couldn't believe her.  I couldn't believe it.    I left the store totally stunned. 

I mean I would have probably given it to another person who wanted it so badly, but at the very least, I would have given a friendly and apologetic "Oh, I am sorry!"  

Not a nasty "beat ya to it and I'd do it again!" look.  

That was store ONE.

Store TWO was second chance mirror store.  Home Goods.  Much higher quality, much higher class store than Big Lots.  And cha-ching!  They had a beautiful mirror for only $5.00 more than Big Lots.  (Totally shocking!)  It was bigger than the other and more creamy than white, but I would take a gamble and buy it anyway since it was the only one they had and I never wanted to watch a mirror slip through my fingers right in front of me again.

I go to the register with my two children and the cashier, who is about 50 years old says "Oh, what beautiful children!  And so well-behaved!"  then she added "You certainly have your hands full!"

I laughed, then, and replied "This is only half of them!  This is like a night off for me!"  

I could tell-I just KNEW what was coming.

The uncomfortable shuffling of feet.  The raised eye brows.  The hurrumphing under ones breath.  

Eventually she was able to speak.

She asked how old the other two were and I said 8 and 6.
She asked how old these two were and I said 3 and 1 1/2.

More awkwardness.

The brilliantness that escaped her lips next was:

"Well.  At least the other two are in school all day so you don't have to have them around."


If I didn't care so much about making people uncomfortable and if I weren't in utter shock at the hatred people have toward children, I would have responded:

"We homeschool.  I actually LIKE to be around my children, believe it or not."

Instead, I picked up my jaw from the floor (again)-managed a weak smile-and left.  

Since when did people become so selfish, rude and hateful of everyone but themselves?  Wow.

I wonder, why can't I run into any of you great people who always say nice things to me-while knowing full well that we have FOUR children (gasp!) and that we homeschool (gasp!).  And that we occasionally wear skirts (gasp!) and muckboots (gasp!)?  
 And yet, you seem to like us anyway?

So a question:  to the second lady about the children.  Would you have made a wise crack like I thought of doing or would you have reacted similarly?  I always worry about hurting feelings but maybe, just maybe, it is time to be blunt. 

What do you think?


Monday, April 16, 2012

(Not our) Granary

The warm winds are whipping around Hopestead and my days are following suit. Now that the weather is warming, I am finding every excuse to get outside. And with the new season begins a new set of responsibilities and a new level of busy-ness.

One BIG responsibility: washing and packing up the winter duds and unpacking the summer ones. This chore, alone, has gotten more complicated with our move since-instead of just heading up to the attic, as I did before, it goes something like this:

Cross the yard and the road-go up in the Granary-bring down a bin. Cross the road and the yard and then go upstairs in the house. Do a switch. Haul a bin downstairs, out of the house, across the yard, across the road and up the Granary.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

(You attic and basement storers have it SO good.)

These summerish winds blow in some other responsibilities too~ like clothesline hanging, garden planning and preparations, and sweeping up dirt brought in by bare toes 100 times day. Exercising so I can actually swim in public this summer. Needless to say, I have been pretty busy lately.

A good busy.

One of these days I will blog about a Panda who turned six and his requested cow cake. (Surprised? Didn't think so.)

One of these days I will blog about my really great, really unique clothesline Matt built. (I thought it was going to turn out AWFUL. Instead it turned out AMAZING. Gotta love it when that happens...)

Or I could blog about the newly plowed garden plot over in the side yard. (Our biggest yet!)

Or I could talk about the little thoughts flurrying about my mind at any given moment.

But all these are going to have to wait because...

I haven't finished showing you Easter pictures yet! For Easter, we went to see my brother Jonathan and his new apartment which is really only an apartment in the fact that every month he turns over a rent check.

No. The word 'apartment' doesn't really suit the place at all.

It is actually an old, fully restored and now utterly amazing, granary which is attached to a fully restored and breathtaking, old barn surrounded by beautiful walking paths, a lovely pond, tons of perennials and an amazing firepit and conversations spot.

Yes, if OUR granary were this granary, I would beg to switch clothes over every season. And maybe, I would not even need the house at all.

Just sayin'.

I took lots of pictures because I just loved the place. It is quaint and eclectic and has so many features that just scream 'ME'. Like the light branch over the table my brother made. And the birds everywhere. And the colors in the living area are the colors in my school room! The mirrors everywhere. And...most of all, the BATHROOM. I feel completely and utterly in love with the bathroom (which I sadly, didn't capture well at all.)

Take a looksie.

The claw foot tub, the pedestal sink and the levitating mirror are all out in the open of the room. And surrounded with cattails and birdcages no less. Claw foot tubs? Suspended mirrors? Pedestal sink surrounded by vintage birdcages? I die.

(The toilet and shower are private. No worries.)

(Those are totally the colors I am going for in my school room! Which is still, sadly, in a state of Gram-decorating. One of these days...)

Pretty amazing, right?

I already have plans to convert OUR Granary into a place like this. Expect a blog post about it in approximately....oh....2045.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bright Copper Pennies

It has become a sort-of tradition around here to get new Mama-made duds for Easter. (This tradition, unfortunately, has never extended to MAMA getting new duds for Easter-- but I digress.) And this tradition goes hand in hand with the tradition of said Mama procrastinating until a few days before Easter to begin.

Duds are usually made in wee dark hours of twilight, and usually without patterns which means-it is a variable free for all whether or not they will actually look NICE or not.

Adele's dress was made without a pattern but using this lovely little dress as an inspiration. Unfortunately, I made it during the first of two 1 am sewing sessions and it turned out WAAAAY too big for her. I ended up having to use a bazillion safety pins on Easter morning just to get the thing wearable. Also, it turns out, the pleated bodice ended up hanging down (almost bowl-like) in front. NOT a good look. Not sure how I will fix that or how the inspiration dress didn't have that problem. Overall, I love the pom-pom trim and rick rack and of course, I love the fabric. But it didn't turn out quite as lovely as I had hoped. Methinks I will be altering it in the (very near) future.

Corynn's dress was my own design. A Mullet dress, as it were; unsuspecting in front but a party going on in the back. The dress channeled both a circus Ringmaster and a Lady, properly bustled. I did use a pattern for the bodice (I ran out of time for the buttonholes-they will be done in the -very near- future, too) but the skirt was all Rebecca.

The skirt sewed up just exactly as the idea had formed in my head...I love it. Bonus- Corynn helped me sew it! She (and I!) were both pleased to work together on her dress. It was worth the extra time it took.

Easter morning was the second late night sewing session. After finishing the two dresses I had been planning to make for the girls (minus the buttonholes for Corynn!) I noticed it was only 12:30 am (still early yet!) and so I whipped out a few wonky bow ties for the boys. Heaven forbid they feel left out!

(Andrew was a good sport but he was SO not interested in getting his picture taken. He is practically salivating at the places he could roam here.)

See? I told you.




The obligatory picture-taking is over!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Taking pictures of children-especially more than one-can be pretty tough. My plan of attack is usually thus:

1 ~ snap a zillion photos in rapid succession in order to (hopefully) get one usable one.

2 ~ be prepared to look like an idiot and do crazy things to get everyone who is supposed to be looking at the camera ACTUALLY looking and maybe, if I am especially lucky-get a few genuine smiles in there too.

3 ~ and lastly, call it a good picture if everyone is looking at the camera.

And so it was while taking a picture of the grandkids. I think outtakes are great fun to laugh over, and these just crack me up. Why? Because of two little girls...

Next to my mom sits my little niece Christiana-whom I tried (to no avail) to get to smile. I jumped up and down. I acted like a loony bird. And she never cracked a smile. Not ONCE. Not even a smidge.

And then there is Adele', who knows her mother well and cracks up in riotous laughter (humiliation??) at my antics. Watching their personalities unfold in front of the camera is hilarious. TO me anyway. All these pictures were taken in the space of like three minutes.

Watch 'em:

(this is when I began jumping around like a psycho...)

How true a likeness...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Truth

(My parents with seven of their nine grandchildren on Easter Sunday.)

An Easter weekend full of bread and wine and fruit tarts; of every baking sheet in the house full of warm bread and sinkfuls of dirty dishes; of sewing remnants flying about the Spare Oom and working in the wee hours of the morning because I procrastinated, as usual; of cutting hair and extra scrubbing under the fingernails; of visiting on patios and in kitchens and granaries; of hunts and laughs and bison sightings; of candy in eggs and candy in baskets and candy on tables and candy in bellies.

But the sweetest of all... the Truth of it.

Hope you felt it. Hope you FEEL it. It is pretty amazing.

(more pictures to come...)

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Slurp, Dribble, Drool

A food post, because I really love food. And because I happen to have some pictures of a (delicious!) fruit tart I made last week to post. And because Janet said she missed my daily menus. This is for you, Janet!

Recent breakfasts~

  • Eggnog and toast
  • Dippy eggs
  • Scrambled eggs (several days)
  • Oatmeal with brown sugar
  • blueberry scones
  • cornmeal mush with maple syrup
  • yogurt with cereal on top
Most lunches were either leftovers from dinners or sandwiches. I don't remember making anything special for lunches.

I can't remember the afternoon snacks-though I do recall making peppermint meringue cookies early last week and the children having them with snacks for a few days.

Recent Dinners~
  • Beef stew (the best I have ever made!) and buttermilk biscuits (using just three ingredients! and they were good!)
  • Spaghetti with home canned meatsauce, spring garden salad, home canned pears and whole wheat parmesan breadsticks.
  • leftover night (the last of the library classes I attended.)
  • Marinated chicken and sweet peas over brown rice. Strawberries and huckleberries coated with vanilla yogurt.
  • ugh. what did we have on Thursday?!? It was fancy.
  • Pizza and carrot sticks with Ranch dip
  • Split Pea Soup, Vegetable Beef Barley soup, Lots o' Buttery Crescents, Fruit tart for dessert. (Had friends over for a Soup and Scrabble night.)
  • Sunday went to my parents' for a delicious *and big* lunch. I brought braided egg bread. That night the children had bowls of split pea soup before bed.
  • Sausage gravy and buttermilk biscuits (same as above), peas and corn mixed together. Cake for dessert. (Birthday request)
  • Chili, beans, and cheese fries. (The kids have never had anything like this and felt VERY special.) Strawberry and Kiwi salad.
  • And last night- Matt wasn't home for dinner and I was busy all the way until supper so I had to scramble at suppertime. I asked the children whether they wanted Bacon and Eggs or BLTs. They chose the bacon and eggs (and strawberries and pumpernickel toast) and I chose a BLT on pumpernickel (it has been over a year since I had a BLT and boy was it gooooood.)

There is one other night that I can't for the life of me recall, last Thursday, but I remember it being a good one. Just not memorable, apparently.

As for tonight~ we are having Ham, mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli, and homecanned applesauce.

And you know what tomorrow brings! PIZZA NIGHT!

SO-what's on YOUR table these days?