Friday, November 30, 2012


'Tis the season to purge the kid's closets.  And, then go around trying to find clothes to replace some of the outgrown ones.  Thankfully, grandparents will  gift some clothes for Christmas.  And, thankfully my kids do not have crazy notions about being stylish, a perk of home education.

These overflowing bags will go to friends.  The one big bag will go to Goodwill.  Oh how I love to purge!

Friday, November 16, 2012

First World Problems

My week has been plagued by first world problems, you know, the kind that are annoying, but only exist because I am blessed to have a home in the first place.  Our old copper pipes, water pressure tank, and whole house water filter needed replaced.  Now there are gaping holes in three rooms that need fixed.  All these "problems" made me think about how thankful I am to have running water, a landlord with money to fix them, and skilled men to fix them.  I know that these are problems that other human beings would love to have.  Not every person has clean running water in their home.  Living here in excess skews my sense of having problems, big time.

Last night, as we made our way through a mega warehouse store, I found myself reminded of this again when they were out of a couple things that I thought I "needed!"  How many times a day do I think I need something?  Need is such an overused word!

This month, I've been writing down each day something that I am thankful for on my Facebook page.  It's been a great experience.  Each morning, I ask myself,"What am I most thankful for today?"  It's a great way to start my day!

Contentment is...

Contentment not a
fulfillment of what you want,
but the realization of what you
already have.

It is not a destination,
it is a state of gratefulness
before God.

~Joshua Harris

Monday, November 5, 2012

An Under Buyer's Tale

Recently, I've made a few purchases that have greatly increased the joy in my world.  I tend to be an "under buyer", which is a term I first heard from Gretchen Rubin.  It means that I don't like to shop and I put off making purchases long past the point of their necessity.  

For example, I currently own only two pairs of jeans and both when buttoned, I can pull off (Yay for me!) They are too big.  They are not even comfortable to wear.  I even have birthday money to spend on new ones, yet, I have put off the task for a couple weeks.  Thankfully, today I received an email about an online sale at a store I like and so I hope to order a couple replacements, TODAY!  

I also was in need of a spoon rest, never finding a used one that I liked, so for the last two years, I've used the plastic lid that came from some packaging.  It washed up fine in the dish washer.  I was happy. But, then I saw "the one" at Good Will this weekend!  And it ended up being free because I had enough points from donating to make it free.  Wow, was I happy!  And now I have just the right spoon rest that matches my kitchen decor.

Another example is my cake pans.  I received two fine (or so I thought) cake pans for our wedding 18 years ago.  Each time I make a cake in these pans, they would stick.  Even if i greased them, floured them, and put in parchment paper.  For years, these pans have irritated me.  But, because they were "good" pans, I just put up with them.  And for years I didn't make cake because they were terrible pans.  Yet, I kept them?  Why?  Thankfully, I decided to give them away and I bought two new pans that are wonderful!  The cakes just slid out!

I also recently bought a butter dish.  For years, we've just kept the butter in its paper wrapper and set that on the table.  It got to be a pain.  So, I decided to get a butter dish, but not just any dish.  I wanted a retro one.  And it didn't take months of looking. I found the perfect one in one weekend of antiquing.  And I got it for a little less than an online shop that I thought I'd end up getting one from.   

These little things have shown me that sometimes I have to break down and be a consumer, not always buying new things, but certainly replacing items that are no longer useful with ones that are.

This Saturday is a big tag sale at a church nearby.  I plan to be there.  I am looking for a pan to make pancakes on.  Our current pans do not work.  In fact, since we got the new smooth surface stove, our skillet doesn't work.  It's bottom is not flat enough to make contact with the burner.  *sigh*   It is making it harder to cook things, taking a lot longer.  I am going to have to think about getting a new skillet, too.  Unfortunately, the skillet is not that old.  I could chose to put up with it for a couple years, or just go get one that will work and save myself a lot of grief in the end.   

What about you?  Do you put off buying things? 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Random Fall Thoughts

The last ones! 

Surprise!  Most of the tomatoes have turned red sitting in the sunny southern window.  My dear husband says they are flavorful, too.  Oh, I didn't mention that he is the only tomato lover in the house?  Well, he is. I labor over the tomatoes as an act of love towards him, really.  Plus, I enjoy the challenge. 

The leaves have all of a sudden changed colors and just as quickly, fallen to the ground.  I am going to miss them.  I wish fall was a longer season, spring, too.  It seems like fall and spring are shorter each year.  Perhaps because I enjoy them so much.

A fall display I saw over the weekend. 

The "men" folk worked hard on the leaves last evening after dinner.  You would not know it by looking at the yard this morning after some rain and wind passed through.  But, they are almost all on the ground now.  Last year, I remember we were dealing with leaves well into November.  We finally stopped when it snowed!  This year is quite different.  Most likely due to the drought.  I read we are still 8 inches under normal for the entire year. 

The mill where our corn was ground. 

We added 5 pounds of corn meal, freshly stone ground, to our "larder" for the winter.  I look forward to baking muffins and corncakes.  I hope it lasts awhile.  I have to be careful not to bake too often, as our self control gets tested when I do bake!  And I do love to bake this time of the year. 

Must get to the children's lessons for the day.  Have a wonderful Tuesday! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

This and That, Fall Edition

Quaint shops to tempt us. 

Good Day to You, Gentle Reader,

How is your fall progressing?  Twice now, we've had to cover our delicate plants.  I realize it is just putting off the inevitable, but for right now, with the bright, sunny, warm-enough days, I am attempting to prolong the growing season. 

I heart old barns. 

Just today we enjoyed a red cabbage and some cherry tomatoes in our salad.  The tomato plants are in fact, so full of green tomatoes, that I am soon planning to pick them all and attempt to ripen them in a sunny window. 

Beautiful lake we found while on a stroll. 

Fall camping is another pleasure that we are hoping to extend, although, this past weekend's trip was canceled.  We are not rugged enough to sleep in our pop up camper in temperatures in the 30's without a heater!  We have one more trip planned for my birthday in eleven days.  I am eagerly watching the low temperatures.  We can go if they stay in the 40's. 

A house that I love. 

Speaking of eleven, we purchased eleven jars of apple butter from our favorite orchard this weekend.  Their apples were destroyed by frost this past spring. Thankfully, the apples they used to make the butter were from last year's harvest.  We bought their last jars.  If I had known, I would have gone earlier.  Next year, they will have a call list, the nice lady informed us.  We'll need to get on that list! 

*Pictures are from some day trips taken this past weekend. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Quote from John Wesley

Of late,we have had the pleasure to read a lovely little book entitled, A Heart Strangely Warmed, by Louise A. Vernon.  In this book, a young boy encounters John Wesley and is quite impressed by the man's preaching, although, it takes awhile for the boy to understand all that is meant by conversion. 

I found a quote from John Wesley in the book that I want to ponder... 

"Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." 

That about sums things up, I'd say!  

Friday, September 28, 2012

An Autumn Walk Around a Favorite Pond

I love how this pond changes with the seasons.  I love how it is only two miles from my home.  And, I love fall!!! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Keep It Simple

Tomorrow, I host dinner for eleven of my friends, something I do just once a year for this particular group, although, one of them has me to dinner each month. I purposely stay in this group as a way to make myself more social.  Oh, I do love each and every one in this dear group, don't get me wrong, it's just that my natural bent would be to stay home, focused on my own world.  I'd be quite content, in fact!  And perhaps, I will one of these days, but right now, I am trying to stretch myself in the area of hospitality.  I've always had to make myself be social, now that I think of it! 

So, how do I keep things simple so that I do not become an anxiety ridden mess, driving my family crazy in the process?  First of all, I am keeping my menu simple. 

Chili with assorted toppings
Raw vegetable tray
Cornbread with butter and honey
Blueberry Peach Crisp with vanilla ice cream
Lemonade or decaf iced tea

Other hostesses are much more elaborate, others have had food brought in.  I finally realized that it didn't matter so much what we were eating, it was the friendly atmosphere that we all craved.  

I am also not stressing about the state of my home. Quite a few of the others in my group have large, professionally decorated homes.  My home is quite lived in as we are here learning together most every day. 

We're a diverse group.  Only one other home educates her children.  Most of the ladies work outside of the home, at least part time.  We all have our own struggles.  Yet, we all love one another and accept one another's limitations.  No one is going to care about the weeds in my flower bed along the side walk, or care that the walls of my home are still a bland white that now really need painting!  

I've been a part of this group for more than five years.  We've been through a lot together.  They are worth the effort I will make tomorrow.  And next month when I go to one of their homes, it will be all the sweeter!  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Last Weekend of Summer

Technically speaking, this coming weekend is the last weekend of summer, although, it should feel more like the first weekend of fall, if the forecast holds true.  How I have longed for cooler weather!  And now it is here!

All this cooler air makes me in the mood to bake once again, too.  I want pumpkin muffins, pie, and lattes!  I am more than ever thankful for my new oven.  I will roast a whole chicken today, something I dared not do in the summer heat wave. 

Fall temperatures also makes me want to wear my favorite sweater, and to enjoy wearing socks!  I can't wait to build a fire in the fireplace and sip decaf coffee in front of its warmth.  It should not be a long wait now! 

I love fall, if you could not tell.  It's my favorite season.  There is just so much you can do in the outdoors when the weather is more enjoyable.  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Truly Worthwhile Things, Never Change

"As you read my stories of long ago, I hope you will remember that the things that are truly worthwhile and that will give you happiness are the same now as they were then.  Courage and kindness, loyalty, truth, and helpfulness are always the same and always needed."

Laura Ingalls Wilder, in a letter to the Pomona Public Library, Pomona, CA. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Enjoying the Fruit of Our Labors

Last evening, we harvested one of our red cabbages.  It was just enough for one large salad for us all to enjoy.  It was perfect!  There are several more.  I am so glad I did not give up on them and quit watering them through the drought.  I'm also impressed that the bugs did not eat them, as well.  They are small, but they are wonderful. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Month Away From Fall

It's hard to believe that in a month we'll be saying good-bye to summer.  Already the air is cooler and the trees are starting to drop their leaves.  The grass, however, seems to be in spring mode since the rains came back.  It amazes me how quickly it returned to bright green and growing quickly mode.  My guys will have to stay on top of this change.  We got out of the habit of mowing weekly when the drought was upon us.

This weather has drawn us back outside.  Weekly trips to walk about our favorite pond can happen once again.  The kids and I love this ritual.  I must make the time to stop our busy days and get us outside.  All too soon, the cold winter will replace the hot summer days that kept us indoors.  

One of the things that I enjoy most about this lovely weather is being able to have the windows open.  I love hearing the birds chirp, the cicada humming, and the cooler breeze blowing through the house.  I can wait for the day we cannot keep them open.  

This summer has been one of extremes.  I should have known that the drought would not last forever, but it just seemed eternal.  Alas, I am not really a very patient person. I am a grateful person, however.  So grateful for this change in weather pattern!  The Lord heard our prayers and sent relief in His good timing. 

So now, I feel a change in myself.  I feel an urgency to get out there and enjoy what is left of this summer.  There will be some hot days left in which to swim.  There will be cool mornings in which to walk.  There will be a day that comes that I will no longer be able to keep an open window.  Until that day, I will do my best to enjoy the outdoors.  And beyond that day, I will just put on some more layers and get on to enjoying the next season! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Garden Finale

Grandpa's geranium is doing well.

These guys are popping up. 

The mint has taken over!

Fresh grass clippings added to the compost. 

No broccoli flowers or cabbage, yet. 

Tomatoes gave 12 ripe ones yesterday.

Love my volunteers! 

Just to show how green the grass is again! 

Somehow these popped up despite no watering. 

The drought seems to be easing up.  The temperatures are more like August in Indiana and not Arizona.  I am grateful for this moderation in weather.  As I write, a giant storm system is coming towards us from the north.  I am praying it dips down enough to get us. 

Next year we are going to concentrate on herbs and flowers for the bees.  I will try tomatoes again, but that will probably be the only edible in the garden.  I want to start them earlier, too.  Who knows what next growing season will be like.  All I do know is that I love trying to grow things and part of it is adapting to the challenges of weather.  All in all, the garden has been a fun project this summer.