Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Few Things

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!  I hope you have had quiet time and exciting time these past weeks.

We have had some forced quiet time, as we all went through a round of upper respiratory issues.  I think I'm the last one with a little sinus pain, but I'm on the mend.  It's been a blessing, now that the kids are a tiny bit older, to have them (for the most part!) be able to blow their own noses :)  Our little Lydia is now a 4 year old; so we have the children evenly spaced in ages for a few months:  8, 6, 4, and 2.

Lots of Christmas cookies were baked this year, and a fabulous cookie exchange was held.  One of the attendees asked about doing some kind of exchange in the summer months; there are lots of ideas around for handmade swaps.  Maybe we'll try something new in 2015!  One of the new recipes tried was pretzel shortbread cookies.  Oh boy!  With only 3 ingredients, I think you should give them a try (well, 4 ingredients if you sprinkle some chocolate chips on top).

One of my favorite days from last week was Dec. 23.  We took the kids for a jaunt to Pittsburgh.  We toured Phipps Conservatory,  walked around downtown seeing the ice skaters and the gingerbread houses displayed at PPG Place, and had dinner at the Oyster House (I believe the 2nd oldest Oyster House in the country).  The weather was mild, and we enjoyed the time together.

Christmas presents have  yet to be put away.....favorites include a jar of army men, a nerf and a marshmallow gun, a crystal growing science kit, and dress up gowns for 2 princesses!  I knitted a toy for each of my kids:  a stuffed snake, a reversible dolly that changes to a different dolly, a reversible bluebird in a nest that changes to an egg, and a market bag to carry ballet slippers. 

Now the challenge is to get the house back in order!  Our dog is shedding right now too (why would she do that now?), so the vacuum is getting a workout.  Maybe we'll wait a few more days to feel "normal", as we have New Year's Eve and Day to play.  Jon and I were discussing if we (well me actually) are even able to stay awake until midnight!!  Party animals - not sure is that is an apt description for us.  My kids, on the other hand, claim they stay awake all night every night!  Wink!

A blessed 2015 to you.....a few days early, but obviously my posts are "generously" spaced.  TTFN!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Mix

Easing into a Monday morning here after a blessed day of rest yesterday.  My Sunday school students are just adorable, and we learned yesterday of Joseph's being sold, his prison experience and God's care of him while he was in prison and later rose to power in Egypt.  My little Susanna told her brother later that the Sunday school lesson was about Jonah coming out of the hole.  So, some of the lesson stuck :)

This week is to be a big kitchen week:  roasting pumpkins (and their seeds!) for putting puree into the freezer, extracting some honey, doing something with a box of pears, and similar things.  This will be the first time using my honey extractor we bought at an auction.  It's a lovely piece - we think the extractor is from 1913 made by the Root company!  I've been taking it apart to clean it thoroughly.  Here are two recipes that are super yummy:

1.  Grits.  We eat these almost once a week!  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Creamy-Stone-Ground-Grits-241178
2.  Butternut Squash Soup.  Oh boy.  I love this!  http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/butternut-squash-and-tomato-soup#

I have very much been enjoying a "tea education" through my friend's blog.  She stumbled across this amazing tea company called Golden Tips.  Really, you should go read her handful of blog posts about how this discovery was made.  I never realized, even though I have had some nice loose-leaf teas, how ignorant I am in all-things tea!  I am eager to further explore this interesting company too.

Before I go to stir my grits I'll leave you with two more links.  This magazine looks super-duper; maybe it would be a nice gift for someone on your list?  I have been trying to find a way to make my nail polish last longer; my nails on my right hand chip so badly a few days in.  This product seems to be helping; I'm still in the testing phase!

TTFN, dear friends and readers!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Snippets From the Day

Yesterday was apple day!  We had a few baskets of picked apples from the 3 trees around our house, and those apples needed to be dealt with before rottenness set in.  It was a day!  Let me tell you!

~Why did I make the decision to go with recipes that called for peeled and cored apples?  I definitely started to question that decision around 4 p.m. yesterday afternoon when the crockpot was already filled; and it seemed the mountain of apples was not subsiding!

~There were some tears shed when, about 45 minutes after pulling 12 quarts from the canners, the jars of apple pie filling STILL HAD NOT SEALED!

~School was fit in the nooks and crannies of the day yesterday.  Last night right before bed I was quizzing Abigail and Jacob on their Science material.  I was asking which of the 5 senses would the "optical nerve" be related to, and my son replied with, "the sense of humor"!!  Oh, folks, where do they get these things?  Rapidly to follow was this question from him:  "What does 'humor' mean?".

~In the midst of the hurry and scurry yesterday....did I mention my husband came home from work to set about on his project of insulating the garage......something was forgotten.  I woke up with the dreaded feeling, you know, the feeling of having missed putting the garbage bin out to the curb.  Hahahaha....waaaaa. 

In conclusion, I will leave you with hope.  The jars did seal, and I will probably tackle more recipes with peeled and cored apples (next year, though).  Apples are a wonderful thing, and we will enjoy the fruits of our labors this winter (haha, get it?  fruit).  As my husband said this morning when I shared the garbage bin revelation, "we will survive".  As I read in 1 Corinthians this morning:  "....as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing...." we will do more than survive!  TTFN, my dears.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ups and Downs of Recent

Ah, life!  I've been reflecting on the slowness that some days seem to crawl by on as well as the speed that life passes by.  It is encouraging to think that I do not have to become bogged down in the every day chores and desires of more to accomplish (so, so easy for me), but I'm finding that I need VERY regular reminders that my tasks should be prioritized more along the lines of big picture view!  Thankfully, God is good; and provides people and readings to remind me!

Watching one of my honey bee colonies swarm this week (after I had just checked that the bees had enough room last week) is frustrating but encouraging me to learn more about the bees.  I think possibly they are a little too hot in their current location.  This is the same hive that swarmed last year too, so it might just be a characteristic of this particular colony.

My kids have started school!  Yay!  Yay for learning and expanding the mind - we are already having talks about using our school (and attitudes when the lessons get hard) to serve the Lord.  I'll let you in on a little secret....I can get some extra knitting time while I sit next to my pupils working on their lessons :)

My blog swap package arrived, and I have been enjoying the goodies sent by one of my newest blogging friends

Can I just say.......blueberry ginger jam!!!!!

My parents' anniversary today represents 38 years!  We had a nice dinner last night (provided by them, no less) around our table.  My little gift to them was matching handknit washcloths.

Speaking of knitting; have you been by my etsy shop lately?  I added something great for the chilly-er (!) weather!   I think it is just wonderful that my blog swap partner had knitted something similar for me to use.....I tuck my cozy in my purse in preparation for any coffee purchase :)

Well, I could go on; but another post will have to follow.  TTFN!!

Saturday, August 16, 2014


My kids make me laugh.  Here is just a typical summer picture along with a few eggs collected.  Can you see the difference between a tiny pullet egg and a regular egg from the older chickens?  Such fun!

Tiny girl has a very strict rule remembered in her mind.....one must always wear shoes outside.  She is prepared, people, to check that garden and collect those eggs.  I guess she forgot the memo about also wearing pants or a skirt or SOMETHING.  Too much!!

Summer is rolling along.  Thoughts of school are dancing in our heads too.  Have a wonderful weekend, everyone...TTFN!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!

Winner for my giveaway last week.....using the completely random method of writing everyone's name on scraps of paper, folding them into tiny bits, shaking them around, and having my daughter pick one.........is harknessangels!! Congratulations! Now, you'll have to decide on something from my shop; and I will send it to you :) Yay!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Treat for You (Giveaway)

Life is full these days - full of summer happenings! We are thankful for our fresh eggs coming in and the produce from our small garden. Since we just moved in this year we decided against having a full on garden for canning. We have more of a garden for snacking and enjoying: tomatoes, squash, fresh flowers, and some snips of the young herbs.

2 blueberry pies were baked yesterday as the result of a 2nd blueberry picking venture. It is exciting to be able to pick a gallon of berries without a baby strapped to my back; maybe next year we will pick enough to put some in the freezer. Next year my girl probably will not have a repeat broken leg, so she will be added to the picking ranks (currently myself and Jacob).

Homeschool ideas are swirling. This is our first year to be "official" for the state, so we have forms to fill. Textbook order is in the works.

With so much going on, I am thankful for small moments to enjoy my handmade items. I love to start a fresh bar of soap in the shower - my favorites usually include at least a bit of lavender. I love to light one of my beeswax candles while having a few quiet knitting moments. My kids have been having fun picking the colors for their new washcloths.

I want to share something with you! Please check out my shop to let me know something you would love to try!

Giveaway winner will be picked, randomly and on Friday, from the comments on this post.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Follow up on a Few Things

1. Yesterday afternoon was spent holding new baby nephew and visiting with my brother and sister-in-law. Baby spent a few extra days at Children's Hospital due to a bit of a fever which caused concern since his mommy and daddy are so recently from Uganda. Praise God that the cultures and tests have been coming back normal and little man only had the elevated temp the one time.

2. Blueberry picking did happen last week for a bit! Jacob was a major picker! We came home with just under a gallon and have been enjoying cobbler and homemade ice cream as well as blueberry muffins for Sunday breakfast. We had the joy of providing "first time" experience to a friend who had never had homemade ice cream (gasp....shocking I know!). All in good fun.

3. Honeybees provided a bit of a challenge to us. The wooden bench on which 2 active hives now resides is starting to come apart. Hives should not really be moved much during the active season. If you have to move hives (like we did when we moved) it's best to move them a few miles. We also did that in the dead of winter when the hive was much lighter, and the bees were not out and about. But our current situation involves heavy hives and active bees! So, I suited up in my bee jacket/veil because I was a bit nervous and we went traipsing out after dark last night with concrete blocks and pieces of wood to provide a temporary fix until winter! The bees sounded angry, and there were some bees clustered around the entrance even after dark (it has been pretty hot). We discovered that they would fly towards us if we had the flashlight on, so we worked in the dark. We seemed to have provided enough support to catch the bench if it falls...whew!

3a. My husband laughed a bit in the discovery that the honeybee would fly towards the flashlight while lighted, but as soon as the light was switched off the bee would dive into the grass confused by the darkness. He may have done that a time or two :)

4. This afternoon, with my parents providing childcare, we are off to collect more firewood. It will be some good exercise!

5. I have been thankful for soap and body butter orders recently! You know, soap makes an excellent hostess gift for your summer travels paired maybe with a handknit washcloth?

6. I'm working on projects for my blog swap partner. Oh, it is so fun to think of someone enjoying the things I send off. Not gonna lie, it is super fun to receive a package in the mail, too! I'll post a picture when that happens :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Five

1. The kids and I visited our newest family member yesterday. Their cousin (my nephew) is the first child for my brother and sister-in-law. While here in the States for a few months to have the baby they will travel back to Uganda in September to continue their work in medical missions. Baby is so sweet and has such an amazing amount of hair. I am so thankful for a smooth and fairly quick delivery and that everyone is doing wonderfully!

2. My girl Abigail now has a cast on her leg, a palate separator in her mouth, and new braces (as of yesterday). Girlfriend has a lot going on this summer :) A lot of this week was taken up with appointments and discovering that a local dentist way overcharges for laughing gas! Folks, it's worth it to ask a few questions and do a bit of research in medical/dental related matters.

3. Today we are hoping to start to attempt (!) a blueberry picking expedition. It may be short-lived.

4. Realities of life: one of my baby chickens flew into the pen with my big chickens and was killed. Sad. I've taken some stop-gap measures, but something more secure will have to be constructed to prevent further loss. My 2 beehives are resting on a wooden bench that seems to be deteriorating. How in the world to fix this with 2 active hives? We've thought maybe to go in the night and try to shore up the bench with some concrete block....makes me nervous!

5. Tomorrow (Saturday) we have absolutely nothing planned. Bliss! Maybe we'll go out for breakfast!

Happy weekend to you! TTFN!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pictures That Make Me Smile

Some fun/good things that have happened recently:

Abigail had a dance recital in June (I'll have to update with a picture of her leg currently in a cast!).

Mama and eldest baby shot :)

Garden work in the spring....notice Jacob's choice of footwear and the two monkeyshines in the back. Those two little girls can be the best buddies ever or really be pushing each other buttons, amIright?

This person (my brother's beautiful wife) is about to have a baby.....practically any minute!! We are on baby watch. Today they are supposed to watch my kids, but any plans being made end with, "unless you are having the baby".

We hired a tree guy to take this sucker out. It was a leaning (right over my chicken coop), creaking mess. My husband cut up the firewood (3 smaller trees as well) and said we had enough wood for a week or two this winter. Sigh. Firewood is a big job!

Well, Wednesday calls, folks! TTFN!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Mashup

Little man Jacob came in today from his garden patch with an armload of zucchini. He had to go back out to pick a couple of cherry tomatoes and a little yellow squash. His garden patch is working for him!

I don't know about you, but I am ready for some tomato sandwiches! We've just had the tiny tomatoes coming in so far. What is up with my basil this year? It is sad and does not seem to like the garden patch :(

My eight year old Abigail is having a big summer. She fractured her leg on the 4th of July, and she is just beginning some orthodontic treatment along with the extraction of two baby teeth. Woo! Five appointments in one week are making this mama tired, and it is just Monday!

Little Miss Lydia has been running a fever for several days. We are thankful she is now taking food and drink, but we are ready to have our sassy girl back! Susanna is having to run around and be extra cute to fill in the gaps.

We are on baby watch; my brother and his wife are ready for their little boy! Due date is July 20, so we are trying to fit in some last minute activities before he shows up. Hoping to squeeze in a restaurant outing tomorrow and some blueberry picking on Wednesday. We'll see!

Funny noises are coming from the chicken pen these days.....seems like one of our baby chickens is a rooster, and he is learning to crow! So far he seems rather docile; we'll have to decide his fate sometime soon!

Beddy bye time, friends! TTFN!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


My mind is bubbling over with all the spring happenings! Sorry for the utter randomness, but isn't that part of the fun? Activities lately have included:

1. Vegetable garden. Tomatoes, 3-4 varieties of peppers, basil, a little zucchini and yellow squash, a few cucumbers, beets, and carrots that I thought I planted but cannot seem to find. Oldest girl and boy have their own patches of the sweetest haphazardness you have ever seen. Sticks and stones mark the rows, and we seem to have lost a whole packet of sunflower seeds in the garden somewhere :)

2. Herb garden. Forgive the list, but I need to write this down somewhere.....3-4 varieties of lavender, pineapple sage, regular sage, 4 varieties of mint, tarragon, 2 kinds of chives, 4 varieties of thyme, oregano, lemon balm, rosemary, etc.

3. Perennials. Black eyed Susan, Columbine, Bleeding Heart, Pincushion Flower, Bee Balm, Poppies, Catmint (not catnip), a miniature rose, clematis (one needs replacing), etc. Some of these were Mother's Day and birthday gifts.

4. Birthday. Mine already and two children's coming up next week. Presents are being researched.....fancy cord for friendship bracelets and Ninjago knockoff figurines are on the list. Fancy yarn has been ordered for myself!!

5. Anniversary. My man has been mine for 14 years next week <3

6. Trip to OH last weekend. Still unpacking and playing catch up and thinking of all the fun we had with an aunt and uncle who are great cooks! Fun was had visiting cousins and a little second cousin.

7. Hard things. Church situations and family situations and health situations(don't we all have them?).

8. Knitting. Almost done test knitting a sweet pattern. Still working away on my cardigan huge-ness.

9. Big project. We have a huge, leaning tree that actually leans over the chicken coop. It needs to come down, so we are dealing with a tree-cutting-man right now. Looks like we may have to take out 3 other trees to get the beast of the leaning tree safely down.

10. Tired. A good tired at the end of the day is the best feeling! Sore shoulders and a bit of sunburn means we had a great day outside with work and ice pops and laughter and skinned knees and a glimpse of a deer down our driveway and a visit with grandparents and my aforementioned man right beside me for 30 minutes of couch sitting before bed.

Good night world! TTFN!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

You Might be a Redneck (and Happy About it too) if:

1. The entire family is thrilled about yesterday's purchase of a used pickup truck.

2. Daddy's treat to Mama is to let her drive (30 minutes) it home all by herself whilst he hauls the minivan-load of kids.

3. Dusting the house is mainly centered around the dust caused by the baby chickens in the box in the living room.

4. The baby chickens have had their living quarters doubled by joining 2 cardboard boxes (with a little hole passageway) side by side.

5. The passageway for the baby chickens is rigged with Duck tape, so that no little baby chickens fall out.

6. The grass has not been mowed yet due to shopping for a lawn mower; and the phrase, "it doesn't really matter because no one can see us from the road." is thrown around.

7. The kids dress according to if anyone will see us today.

8. The kids are tempted with the possibility of their own garden patches, and their dreams are: sunflowers, beets, Bachelor's Buttons, carrots, and tomatoes.

9. Mama gets excited about finding a way (steam the eggs) to hard boil the freshest of eggs without having trouble peeling the shells.

10. Daddy and son design and create a raft to float in the pond in the hopes to watch turtles basking in the son.

Lovin' every minute! TTFN

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Knitting....New Thing

With some new (beautiful) yarn in the shade "raspberry" I've started a big project. Raspberries must be on my mind; I've been watching youtube videos about how to prune and trellis the berry bushes with hopes of starting some this year. Anyway, the new cardigan is the "Channel Cardigan" pattern by Jared Flood. It is stretching my brain with new techniques, and I am loving the challenge. I think it may be done by winter :) Here is the beginning of a sleeve with a mix of moss stitch and a chevron panel:

I found some pictures on my camera from last week, so here is a lace blocking picture too (I take a while to get things blocked....have a small stack):

Joining in the weekly yarn along here:

Monday, April 14, 2014

What is That Noise?

Last night around 11 p.m. I asked my husband, who had recently climbed in bed, to get out of bed and explore a funny noise with me. Maybe asked isn't the right term. Maybe I urgently whispered from the doorway to please hurry up and come find out what the weird noise is that I just heard. The noise sounded like some kind of animal; it was loud and squeaky and maybe some kind of bird; but what kind of bird so loud at 11 o'clock at night? Could it be a raccoon or possum that would chase my chickens? My husband grabbed his flashlight and started searching.

First, he started where I heard it - the kitchen end of the house. Before opening the kitchen door to the side yard he shone the flashlight through the window. Nothing. Then, since he is so brave, he unlocked the door and went outside! He did a complete circle of the house looking for the origin of the noise and checking on the chicken shed. Nothing.

We chalked it up to a passing owl wondered why our dog didn't bark (maybe my husband started to think I'm just hearing things) and went to bed. Since it was so warm last night (first time in the new house) we had our bedroom window opened to be serenaded by the spring peepers. Well, you guessed it. As soon as we hopped in bed and quieted our last bit of conversation we heard it again. I definitely felt validated since my husband heard it too. This feeling of validation was shortly followed by a crazy thought - maybe the loud, squeaky noise was coming from our kitchen. Maybe the spring peeper that my husband had caught in a jar to save until morning to show the kids what was making the spring-peeper-noises was screaming at the top of its little lungs! Maybe we had walked by the then-silent peeper on our way to search the yard.

Folks, never underestimate the power of a peeper's lungs! My husband quickly released the little fella, and we giggled as we dropped off to sleep. My weird, scary noise was just the reverberations of a captured spring peeper.

Goodbye forever.

Well, until next time.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Finished Object

I finished a sweater! I finished a sweater in 5 weeks! I'm going to post the picture knowing full well that the computer hates me and will make it be sideways even though I saved it in "Paint" and rotated it and all that. Oh well, turn your head sideways and take a look :)

Now, because I am all kinds of fancy and tech savvy, I will include a picture that is right-side-up but crazy dark. I know. Amazing.

It really is a great sweater with wonderful, luscious yarn. It's the Moxie Pullover. The yarn is the "Sage" worsted weight "Shepherd's Wool" from StoneHedge Fiber....wonderful stuff, purchased at my LYS (Wolf Creek Yarns in Grove City, PA).

Now, I should be a good knitter and finish all my little projects that are sleeping. I do have my eyes on a next sweater though :)

I picked the green button to match my sweater:

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Snapshots on a Saturday

Well, actually, some of these pictures are from earlier in the week. I'm really good at the mug shots :)

I've entitled this series..."The Art of Bedhead".

Maybe "Someday I Won't Let Mama Always Take my Picture".

Or, "The Smiles - They Slay Me".

How about "I Just Want a Hug!".

Leftover bananas had to be made into something, so why not use chocolate? Yummy banana bread cooling on the counter:

Last but not least I am so blessed to have little girls that enjoy playing dress-up (big sister dressed the little ones):

Enjoy your Sunday tomorrow. TTFN!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Knitting and Reading

For the yarn along this week, we were asked what we are reading. Since I am not one of those talented individuals who can read WHILE knitting, I have turned to another method - listening and knitting. I like to listen to a sermon in the mornings before my kids get up, and my knitting progresses too. But, you cannot take this English major's love of the feel of a physical book. I have a good one going on right now that you can hopefully see in the picture.

This week I had some time "in town" after a doctor's appointment, so I picked up a few beautiful magazines. There is just something so fun about flipping through some inspirational articles. One of the magazines has a recipe for French macarons that I am so excited to try.

My knitting is coming along on the sweater (Moxie pullover). I'm not sure that it will be done by the first day of spring, but one can hope (and knit - yes knitting will help). The second picture shows progress as well as comparison to another sweater I knitted, and I want the new sweater to be just as long through the body. I'm almost there!

While taking these pictures in the early morning (to take part in the yarn along at Ginny's) my kids begged me to take their pictures. We are the masters of bedhead; I'm saving them for another post.

Have a warm and cozy day somewhere with a bit of knitting possibly, as it looks like we're in for some cold outside today in our neck of the woods. TTFN!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Cozy winter days means at least some knitting gets done! Almost daily I've been able to put in at least a few stitches. Since Christmas I've finished one sweater and started another (so thankful for Christmas giftcards to yarn shop!).

My current sweater is my favorite color (green) knit in the lovely Shepherd's Wool from a fiber mill in Michigan. Stonehedge Fiber Mill sounds like a fun place!

So, here is a picture of my WIP:

I really, really hope to finish this sweater before Spring (the actual calender date). We'll see! I'll keep you posted.

Oh, I tried a still life photo too :) It includes some of my favorite things like the beeswax I've been working with for my shop, eggs from my girls (new chicks ordered this week), coffee, and my knitting!

This is my first time participating in a yarn along!

Hope you have a cozy mid-week day!! TTFN!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Blog Swap

Boy was this a fun week! I received a package in the mail here at our new house, and what a package it was! I participated in a blog swap this month, and my little package was received by a new friend in CA. She writes about it here. It's fun to see pictures of my things in someone else's home!

So, back to my package :) My kids stood around (and helped) as we unwrapped each item - it was like my birthday or something! Each item is just something that I can use/love/enjoy. Here, let me show you a picture:

I cannot wait to get my fingers moving on that yarn! Thanks, Stephinie!! Thoses pictures on the right are actually gorgeous notecards that Stephinie makes/sells. Their quality is just wonderful; I think I might hang a few as art by my desk. That lavender satchet is going in my knitting bag :) Stephinie has a space here for her blog and shop. What fun!!

This was the first time I've participated in a blog swap. I would do it again in a hearbeat!!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Garden Plans

With all the cold weather, Big Fish and I find our thoughts turning to warmer times to come! With a lot of the unpacking accomplished, we have some spare minutes to sit and dream. Namely, we have been discussing the spring garden.

The property does not currently have a recent garden patch, so we must begin at the beginning. Turing the sod/grass over is a daunting job! We hope to start an area and work with the dirt as the season progresses.

Our immediate plans are to put in the plants/bushes/trees that will take some time to get established. We are eager, EA-GER, to see what the mature apple trees already on the property will do! We learned a lot when we tried to put in baby apple trees at our old house (deer are destructive - so very destructive and baby trees take forevah! to grow). While we recognize that everything has a price tag we hope to find some bigger trees/bushes to put around.

Here is a brief list: asparagus, rhubarb, grapevines, blueberry bushes, red raspberry bushes, and possibly a form of fruit tree (cherry? pear?). Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions or recommendations on this list? We hope to start with these things and then go from there as far as regular garden vegetables. It still might not be the year to put in canning amounts of tomatoes and beans.

The planting part is easy; it's the deer deterrents that seem to take the most time and money! Another summer project is to work on the pasture fence. Currently it will contain horses (electric wires), but we would like to work toward some goats (meat mainly - possibly a dairy goat). Goats are smart animals and very nimble. Their fencing needs are more involved.

Have you made it thus far? Whew....feel rather rambly right now. My last major list item is a kitchen herb garden. Basil and chives are used a lot around here, and I am determined to find a lavender that likes southwest PA. Oregano and mint have done fine for me in the past, but that mint can really turn into a menace with how much it spreads (maybe just a container?).

What are your spring thoughts? Who keeps a garden journal?

TTFN with a happy birthday to my love today...pumpkin cake is cooling and waiting the cream cheese frosting :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Attempt at a Few Pictures

Sorry, no pictures of the new house yet! But! Big Fish gave me this fancy apparatus for Christmas that helps me transport pictures from my camera to the computer WITHOUT a cable. It's all in the microchips....I think. Me? Why yes, if you need any help with technical writing/descriptions; I'm your girl :)

So, without further ado, let's give this a shot:

Picture the first is my oldest baby with me at a Christmas performance of "The Nutcracker". It was wonderful; we even had brunch at a posh eatery beforehand replete with eggnog French toast and the like.

Picture the next is my mom with Lydia doing, you know, princess things. My kids love stickers - especially those sticker books that have repositionable (new word?) stickers.

Why can I not get the above picture to be straight? Arg!

Picture the last is of the baby warming her toes under the dog. The dog is mesmerized with the cookie in Susanna's hand. Susanna was way too busy to look at me.

Alas, there is no picture of my son today. Every picture has him with too much red-eye. I know! There is a red-eye reducer somewhere on my camera that I will have to find someday. Me and technology - we just click so well!!

So, if this all works, watch out for some photo shoots of the house/children/pets/whathaveyou.

What's this? Temperatures above freezing today!! TTFN!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Business for Today (in no particular order):

O Cut out lots of paper hearts

O Help 4 small humans cut out paper hearts

O Pass out Princess and Spiderman candy boxes (the lengths stores go to now to doll up a box of chocolates - humorous - Spiderman chocolate?)

O Bake oatmeal raisin cookies for the man of the house

O Bake cherry pie bars for the rest of us

O Make cornbread to go along with our chili - attempt to turn the cornbread pink

O Clean up paper scraps from all.the.cutting (my kids would cut paper all day long! It's their favorite!)

O Build the very first fire in our fireplace in our new home

O Enjoy a glass of wine by the fire while watching something cheesy on Netflix with the man of the house.

O Thank you, Lord, for this day! Amen.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Creating and Making

We are home! At least it is starting to feel like home. The mountain of boxes is now relegated to the garage, and we started this week with some normal routines. Monday-laundry-folding has happened, and is still happening. The vacuum has been unearthed, and the broom and dustpan stand ready for me to finish this blog post. We have carpet in the living room and bedrooms; and the dining room, kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms are some kind of laminate.

I also am quite excited with some prospects for my raw materials: three orders for body butters and lip balms have been placed. I have a secret pal, a pen pal, and a blog swap pal all awaiting a fun package. And, my local shop is running low on lotion bars. It is high time, High Time to get some making and creating going on :)

Funny sidenote: my poor chickens are as confused as ever. With all the cold weather, I've been running a heat lamp for them. They think daylight is all-the-time. We've been inundated with eggs!

Good news on the camera front - it has been located. Now to find the cable! Someday, little blog, we will have a picture or two.

XOXO to you!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Moving and Unpacking

Hi, friends!

Last Friday, January 31st we signed lots of papers: we sold our house and turned around and bought another one all in one day! I think that my husband and I would agree that last week was, um, hard. The owners of the new-to-us house graciously allowed us to start moving our belongings in during the week. This was the week of all kinds of weather events; namely, cold, cold, COLD, temperatures. After the moving truck would not start for an entire day the repairman said that our best course of action was to leave the truck running! That baby ran for 60 hours straight.

So, here we are in a new location about 13 minutes from our old house. We love the house and are learning how to take care of an outdoor wood burner. Oh - I almost forgot...due to the cold weather our chicken coop was frozen to the ground. The buyers have graciously allowed us to leave it there until the weather thaws. In God's providence there is a coop at our new house, so my husband dutifully packed the hens in boxes along with the rest of our belongings :) I took a tumble in the snow when we were carrying the honey bee hive, but no bees seemed to have been harmed in the process!

Maybe one of these days I'll find the camera! The kids are buzzing around finding toys in boxes and enjoying the spaciousness of the new place. I can't wait until they can go crazy outside too!

Now for a hot cup of coffee and unpacking the china cabinet! Have a warm day; TTFN!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Call Me Crazy

I started a 3-day detox right in the middle of packing to move in two weeks! People, it just had to happen. While my exercise has been maintained throughout Christmas vacation the eating has just spiraled to bad levels. Some breakfasts and lunches (for me - I still make my kids eat better) may or may not have included things like Christmas cookies, popcorn, and chocolate with nary a fruit or veggie to be found. The body is just not supposed to live like that. I am called to be a steward of my flesh. While my flesh really enjoys Christmas cookies (tee hee), there is just only so much sugar that should be coming in. For the next day and a half I'll continue with my fruit and veggie smoothies and try to smile through the headache that my bad-food-addicted body is producing. It gets better, right?

Which brings me to another update: we are moving! If we can get all the agreements and paperwork and packing and everything (whew!) done the closing will be in two weeks exactly! Have I mentioned before one of the things with which God answered our prayers? We put our house on the market right before Thanksgiving. Really, this is not a good time to put a home for sale; people are busy traveling and visiting with family! Well, we had one showing of our house. One! That showing resulted in the contract. We had one other showing after we had the agreement with the first couple. Isn't that crazy?

Lydia is beside me right now asking to have a story read. Why am I still writing this blog entry? :) Happy weekend to you!