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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real


I can count this as my 'pretty' this week, but certainly NOT my happy.  The free knitting class at my local library is great- and I seemed to be a natural the first few classes.  Those were the dishcloth days though.  We started using double pointed needles and ummmmm....it isn't going well.  I have had to rip this project out twice already.  But the yarn is pretty- so that is something.

These will be fingerless mittens (just in time for summer!).  That is, presuming I get my act together.  I will say, this third try SEEMS to be going better for me.  It looks semi-normal, anyway and I am not adding stitches every time I move needles, so that is a plus.  ;-)


Well, I told you about my monster dollhouse dilemma in an earlier {P,H,F,R} post so I thought I might as well share the after.  It is never good to leave the last impression with the BEFORE picture.

I moved the Spare Oom fabric shelves to free a space for the dollhouse and I moved the fabric shelves to where the dollhouse WAS, in the hallway.  A good old-fashioned switcheroo. 

Frankly, I don't know why I didn't just do this from the beginning.  The hallway looks more "decorated" now in a weird way and the dollhouse is so nice and bright and inviting!  Plus, my fabric will not get faded as quickly, not being so exposed to the sunshine.  And then there is the added benefit of not needing to shimmy through a four-inch space when trying to pass through the hallway when the dollhouse doors were flung open. 

Needless to say, I am very HAPPY for the change and HAPPY that it is DONE.  ;-)

Didn't you know?  Tongues definitely make you paint better.

There is a gas well pad just beyond our hill and as the gas pressure increases at the site, they have to burn off the excess with this huge flame thrower thingy in order to reduce pressure.  We have seen them up close before but being tucked back behind the woods makes it that much more eerie. It feels/looks/sounds very much like a forest fire coming to envelope the house.  In fact, the first night the littlest ones were SURE we were going to burn to death.

One of the not-so-lovely things about living on this hill.


Join us? 
  (Yes, Miranda! DO!) 

round button chicken

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Monkey See

Lots of baby boys being born lately... at one time I used to think that girls were the "fun" ones to make things for but, really, I think I was just being small-minded.  Boys have an awful lot of cuteness potential themselves, it turns out.

Two babies born recently were born to more label-conscious ladies.  They might not appreciate handmade gifts as much as storebought ones so I set my cheapskate tendencies aside for a moment and went searching for gifts they might like.  But the cheapskate in me can only be pushed aside so far...and a strict budget prevents anything excessive anyway.  How happy was I, then, when I discovered at Old Navy these adorable little monkey sleepers on sale for less than $5.00 a piece!

I snatched up two of them (seriously, how cute are they?!?) and then immediately envisioned monkey hats to go with them.   Ravelry, of course, never disappoints.

Two, naturally.

Honestly, who cares if the mothers appreciate the handmade hats or not?

They were MADE to be together. 

While I was stitching them up, Andrew came by and lamented the fact that his handmade hat has been long since outgrown and passed on to his little(r) brother, and it occurred to me how profane it is for one of my children not to have a handmade hat to keep them warm when they have a mother who is perfectly capable of making one for them.

Then I did something I have never thought to do before.  I dug up a few (like fifteen!) patterns on ravelry and gave the Panda his own choice as to which he would like.  (Why have I never done this before?)  He chose this one.    (The pattern is excellent except it doesn't write out the color changes-so you have to choose your own stripe pattern.)

And the colors? He chose the ones already on the table.

So very pragmatic.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Good Samaritans

Back in December, back when everyone was hustling and bustling to and fro and spelunking into echoing cavernous wallets for Christmas presents for their little (and big) dears; right when all the once-a-year expenses float in the house sandwiched between Christmas cards and people are feeling their poorest~ I came here and put my heart right out there.  I did the unthinkable.  I asked for money.

Not for myself.  But for some of our dearest friends.

And back in December, when I knew that it was the worst possible time to ask, I was amazed at every.single.person whose name popped up each night and every little red cent that was given.

Of all the people who donated, I had only actually ever met ONE of them.  ONE. 

All these strangers giving of themselves at the worst possible time and for whom?  Strangers.

It was so incredible to SEE the spirit at work and not just hear about it.   One of the great hallmarks of Christianity is charity and compassion and when we exercise these gifts, God is revealed in us and through us. 

I have never been more proud of you.

Not to mention- I promised prizes and postcards in January but the busy-ness of the holidays lingered on and days passed and turned into weeks, until finally it was FEBRUARY and I (finally!) made my way with pink and green and white stacks to the post office--- did anyone send me hate mail?  Did anyone send me polite reminders or sweet "Where the HECK are they, Missus?" emails?  Not once.  You guys are the greatest.

I just had to tell you what you have done...

It was YOUR dollars and YOUR pennies that allowed me to send my friends a check on your behalf for...


You did that!

Thank you for heaping me with grace as you waited for life at Hopestead to slow down to a brisk jog instead of the sprint it always is around the holidays.  Thank you for showing Christ to me (and my friends) in a real and tangible way- with prayers AND pennies.  Thank you for being modern day (good) Samaritans. 

Thank you, thank you.  I just can't thank you enough.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Good Stuff

A few "CAN'T MISS" things.  That's all.


A really inspiring book by a really inspiring girl, Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson is the kind of book that you crack open and don't stop reading until you've read the last word.  She and her husband were the sole survivors of a plane crash that left them both scarred, physically and spiritually and emotionally.  It is a coming-to-grips story and the story of renewed life and the struggles/pain that an entire family must overcome.   I bawled my eyes out when I re-lived, through her words, the knife in the heart stab of her chidlrens' rejections of her.  Oh.My.Word.    One hugely profound thing I got from this book is how Stephanie's siblings gathered around her and offered themselves in beautiful and not-quite-beautiful ways.  The love that her brothers and sisters showed for her in her time of need is what I pray my own children will show theirs.  A tearjerker of both happy and sad tears.  Loved it.


Being television-less, we tend to get our news a day or two later than most.   Yes.  We hear the news.  (I don't want any hate mail.  Kay?)  We have plenty of opportunities to get the news from the radio and the internet and we stay fully informed about what is going on.  Don't worry, we don't have our heads in the sand. On the contrary- sometimes I think we know TOO much.

Last week I finally got around to hearing the Presidential Breakfast speech given by Dr. Ben Carson.  I wouldn't have bothered tuning into a Presidential breakfast speech ordinarily even if we DID have a TV, until that is, I heard who was the speaker.

What a speech.  It was great.

If you, like us, don't have a TV~ or even just missed watching it- you really should. Anyone who starts out a national speech with four scripture references is worthy of a listen.

 America the Beautiful, the book Dr. Carson references in his speech (Dr. Carson co-wrote it with his wife) is the next book I am going to read.  Very excited.

In case you have no idea who Ben Carson is, here is a great movie based on his remarkable life.   When we watched it last year, we LOVED it.  Watch it sometime- a great movie for a family movie night!



Ever heard of George Grant?  An incredible man.  Our pastor introduced him (and by 'him', I mean his lecture series) to us a few years ago and I have since become quite a groupie.  I've been listening to his astounding lecture series (which I fully intend to use as our high-school history curriculum) in order to re-learn the history that I never retained in my own schooling...or, as it turns out- learned WRONGLY.  Coming from a sound Christian worldview and revealing things that aren't in most history books, THIS is history worth learning.  (They are super-pricey at this point but well worth it.  You can also hold out- they are preparing a more cost-effective downloadable/streaming option soon!)

He has written over 60 books and now you know why my TO-READ list is now growing exponentially.  Those, unlike the lectures, are FREE to read thanks to interlibrary loan!  ;-)


Speaking of George Grant, his blog The Quick and the Dead is a powerful and profound blog exposing Planned Parenthood for what it really is.  It is hard to read, it is hard to think about...but the more the message gets out, perhaps the number "3,300 children murdered each day" will begin to lessen?  Please, Lord?


And on a much more jovial note~

Those of you familiar with Lamplighter Theatre- there is a SUPER sale going on right now that you don't want to miss!  SEVEN Dramatic Audios for $7.00.  They usually go for almost $200.00 a piece!  (I got both sets 1 and 2!)  You don't want to miss it- and it ends tomorrow at 11:59 ESTSo HURRY!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

I have to say, I am really enjoying this weekly challenge.  I think I can safely say I am hooked.


  Valentine's Day usually comes and goes just like an ordinary day, except we eat pink and red foods (beet potatoes, anyone?!) and wear pink and red clothes and make silly little valentines for one another.  I don't often get any valentine's myself, even though I kinda sorta live for that sort of woo-ing.

I usually pretty much hate it when people show off amazing Valentine gifts on their blogs~ my color turns green, the monster Jealousy can't be tamed and my spirit isn't too lovely to look at either.  "Show off!" I mutter.  "Stinkin'....stinkin'!" Grumble, Grumble.  It isn't them- it is me, unsuccessfully squelching my discontent.

Well.  It just so happens I need a "pretty" picture for this whole Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real post and the only "pretty" pictures I have taken were of these orchids- so you are going to have to bear with me as I turn into one of those stinkin', stinkin' bloggers.  Take comfort in knowing things like this RARELY happen to me.  Or ANYONE, for that matter.  'Kay?

Matt brought me home the most beautiful (and large!) orchid ever and a wedge of gouda on Valentine's Day.  All I had asked for were some words scribbled out on a note, like the olden days...  so it was very unexpected.

I have an affinity for orchids.  

You'll probably be seeing more of this lovely in the future.  (Just so's you know)



 My mom passed this little vest down to me because it could still fit a certain little Bear.  It is handknit, so you know I love it.  It was one of the last things my Oma knit, so it is very, very special.  I wanted to get a picture of Judahbear in it before his big belly outgrew it.  (Well on its' way, as you can see.)


I looked up yesterday and what did I find?  A poor little frog on the ceiling.  I know not how he got there or how long he was stuck, but I do know he looked very unhappy indeed about being


Now you know.   

We are one of those crazy people that hang quilts in doorways to keep out the winter chill.  What is especially worrisome is when the quilts MOVE in the wind.

 (Never a nice feeling.)

round button chicken

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Be Mine and a Homemade Crayon Tutorial

Valentine's Day was SO last week...but I took pictures on that day, so I must blog them. :-)


The children made heart crayons to pass out for Valentines' Day this year (they have a surprising amount to pass out between cousins and church friends!).  We made three batches before I forced them to call it quits.  The entire dining room floor was covered in crayon wrapper bits- it was time.

Then they raided the scrap basket for fabric bits and stapled (we are Martha Stewart like that) it up.

A few weeks prior to Valentine's Day I overheard a conversation going on in the backseat of the car, basically re-living all the Valentine's Days the two biggles had seen (SO many.) and deciding which was the best.  I thought it was funny that they remembered all the silly little Valetine-y things I had done.  Then, when they had both picked their favorites Corynn sighed and said "Isn't it awfully special that Mama makes us each a Valentine?" and Andrew said something like "Yeah.  I can't wait to see what she does for us this year."

This conversation struck me because:

#1 Valentine's Day hadn't even crossed my mind at that point, and more striking-

#2- they CARED that much.

I mean- they TOTALLY noticed my (little) efforts and, it turns out, APPRECIATED them.

Talk about refreshing. (Motherhood isn't exactly known for its' return of appreciation.)

You'd think that with all that pressure, I would have wracked my brain for a great Valentine idea for them to knock their socks off- but I didn't.  I waited, like I always do, until 10 minutes before I had to give them out in order to come up with something-and QUICK!


Nevertheless, their socks were knocked.   I love my children.  So easy to please.

{ How to Make Homemade Crayons }

1) Unwrap all the broken bits of crayons that inevitably break within the first five minutes of opening a new box.

2) Put them in a silicone mold.  The best ones, I have found, have at least one light color (yellow, white, etc) each.  They turn out pretty.  To make SUPER pretty ones, add a few bits of broken SPARKLY crayons.  LOVE those.

3) Bake at 275 for about 8-10 minutes until all the wax is melted.

4) Let cool and pop out of their molds.  

It is a great way to use up those broken crayon bits and a great kiddo craft and a great kiddo GIFT to give.  Win. Win. Win.    

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Mister


The Mister had a birthday~ but you knew that already thanks to my frantic whining about such things.  I am happy to report that his gift DID arrive, with 18 hours to spare!  (Thanks for asking!)

His gift was a photo book entitled Remembrances from Hopesteads' First Year, where I printed all the pictures from ALL the projects that Matt did to the Place this past year.  He often gets overwhelmed at all there is still left to do (you people with fixer-uppers know what I am talking about!) so I wanted to encourage him to see all that he has DONE. It is easy to forget where you came from when there is still so far to go but bound together with paper and thread, it is REMARKABLE all that he accomplished.

And you followers of this blog for any length of time must know by now the birthday tradition of Matts' shaving before presents?  Well, THIS year, he got out of it.  (For a day!)  ;-)

I love the man.  

PS.  The food was good too.  :-)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

{Pretty, Happy Funny, Real}


I made a tulip hat for Adele' last Easter to match her dress and never actually showed it to you.   She wore it for thanksgiving and it was left at the hosts' house and was only just returned to us.  We didn't have it for much of the winter, but I have a feeling we will be making up for lost time.  (The free pattern is here.)


They made snowpeople and wanted me to see...and awwww------ it was so sweet! It makes me happy to see children loving babies, even snow ones.


Two funny stories, perfect for Valentine's Day...

Funny Story #1~ but first, let's set the stage.  (The stage is very important, as you will soon see.)

Matt was working out on a barn alongside HIS FATHER and HIS BROTHER.  MY father-in-law and borther-in-law (in case you missed it.)  The children were working/playing nearby.  They were chatting about something that happened last night (perhaps insinuating things, perhaps not), when Corynn pipes up triumphantly "I know what you and Mama do at night!  I know ALL about it. I hear you!"  to which Matt, rather nervously replies... "Oh- yeah?  What Corynn?"  

"You and Mama have tickle-fights!  I hear Mama screaming and laughing all the time!"

WOW.  Really?  Did that just happen?  In front of my father-in-law?  Greeeeeeeeaaaat.

Funny Story #2~ We were working on "awesome alliterations" and Corynn was sitting at the table coming up with different ones.

"Awesome Andrew"
"Great Grammar"

all very safe.  Until she came up with this one:

"Mating Mattie"

It's all very innocent, I assure you.  But nevertheless, it scares the bejeebers out of me. 


As if the above stories weren't 'real' enough for you, you get breakfast this morning!

Have yourself a Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

round button chicken

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Natal Days

Mom singing to Adele' and Adele' soaking up her attention.

           My Dad grew another year wiser a few weeks back and I had their family over for supper.  I have been trying to get copies of old photos from both sides of the family in order to create a "Heritage Album" and also to get some old pictures up on the wall, so I just happened to have a few photos from when my dad was a little guy~ this little factoid worked splendidly in helping me to create the best birthday dinner table-centerpiece ever.    Wasn't he an adorable baby?  Awwww, Dad.

 Speaking of birthdays-  Matt's is on Wednesday!  His requested birthday meal:

Soup Course (now there are soup courses!):  French Onion Soup

Dinner Course:
Marinated chicken breast
Glazed fruit salad
Three bean salad
Mashed potatoes
Baguette bread

Dessert Course:  White cake with peanut butter frosting (naturally.)

Not a terribly difficult meal, nor a terribly expensive one...a perfect choice! 

As for his present:  I have never waited so long to get a present around for him and now I am waiting on pins and needles for it to come in the mail.  It should have come on Saturday, but didn't (I figured maybe the storm?).  It really should have come on Monday, but didn't (for no good reason at all) and now I am OFFICIALLY panicked

I procrastinate on a lot of different things, but never on gifts (well, unless I am making them).  I know how it feels to be forgotten on birthdays and I don't ever want the people I love to feel that way. Ever.  It is rotten.  So basically, I make a poor procrastinator for gift-giving and I fully intend NEVER to wait this long again.  My stress levels can't take it.  )  Please, mailman...come TODAY bearing gifts.  Or... A gift.  Pretty pleeeease....

Thursday, February 07, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

I think I have done it! A weekly photo challenge that seems *just right*. 

 ~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~ at Like Mother, Like Daughter

I won't commit just yet (you know how overzealous I can be) but we'll see how it goes.  Post a pretty, happy, funny, and real photo every Thursday.  This might be just the ticket for my yearly photo goal.  (In which case, I'll stop with the sporatic Sunday posting- probably a good thing anyway.)


My hibernating orchid finally peeks out its' pretty head.


The older children helped me bring wood in before the "Big Storm" hits this weekend.  It is Papa's job normally, but he has been out of town all week and if we wait on him, we might have to dig 3 feet down to get it!  10 large wagonloads in all- and they were still smiling.  Good children.


Boys.  They do strange things.


The Spare Oom exploded.

This week I have tackled and finished several biggish projects that I am SO glad to have (finally!) done.  But, in the business of tackling- other areas are neglected.  If I have an extraordinary school-week, the house goes to pot.  If I buckle down and get the house how I like to keep it, the schooling suffers.  I can't simultaneously have a clean house and well-educated children.  (Is this a universal phenomenon?  Please say yes.)

So- we fluctuate from clean-as-a-whistle fools to dirty, rotten smarty-pants.  It SHOULD all even out in the end, right?

Add to this, biggish projects and everything gets out of control VERY quickly.

When Matt finished flooring the upstairs hallway, it looked so lovely that I hated to put the dollhouse back in it.  Plus, the hallway is so dark-with zero natural light-that the children can only ever play that it is nighttime in the dollhouse.  But where to put a HUGE, practically life-size dollhouse in a home nearly its' size?  (I exaggerate only slightly.) 

Bedrooms are full.  Downstairs is a ain't-happening.  I am considering keeping it in (the only other option than the hallway) the nice and bright Spare Oom, where interest in it has obviously been renewed, but to do so will mean some serious changes to the room.  Where those "changes" are to be put is the question. 

With Matt being out of town all week, I have been happily working on projects and schooling and avoiding cleaning- so if you want to be REALLY real, you must know that pretty much every room of the house looks rather like that above photo.

Time to turn my attention to the house.  I have four hours to make things right, because Matt is coming home TONIGHT(hallelujah!)

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


I was writing a letter and set the timer on my camera, mistakenly putting it on seven snaps instead of one.  At the same time, a little Addie Mae came bounding through the dining room.  

Watching each photo progress made me laugh.  

Let's get the full idea, shall we?


It's all in the cheerful little hop at the end, isn't it?

I wanna be that cheerful.