Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Great Grandparents

I was recently given some pictures of my great grandparents, Hattie and Alva Chiles! I never got to meet my mom's grandmother.  She passed away when my mom was a teenager.  Looking at her kindly face, and knowing how much she was loved by my mom and grandma,  I know I would have loved her too. My great grandfather was very old when I was born.  He was a little scary, so I didn't get to know him too well.  
My maternal great grandparents and some of their grandchildren.
My great grandma and grandmother.  
My great grandma is wearing the dark dress.  Great grandpa is behind her.  I am not sure who the others are, maybe their mothers and their son.  
My grandmother is on the left.  Great grandmother on the right.  Grandma's brother is behind her, next to my great grandfather.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

The House with Nobody in It

The House with Nobody in It 
by Joyce Kilmer

Whenever I walk to Suffern along the Erie track
I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles broken and black.
I suppose I've passed it a hundred times, but I always stop for a minute
And look at the house, the tragic house, the house with nobody in it.
I never have seen a haunted house, but I hear there are such things;
That they hold the talk of spirits, their mirth and sorrowings.
I know this house isn't haunted, and I wish it were, I do;
For it wouldn't be so lonely if it had a ghost or two.
This house on the road to Suffern needs a dozen panes of glass,
And somebody ought to weed the walk and take a scythe to the grass.
It needs new paint and shingles, and the vines should be trimmed and tied;
But what it needs the most of all is some people living inside.
If I had a lot of money and all my debts were paid
I'd put a gang of men to work with brush and saw and spade.
I'd buy that place and fix it up the way it used to be
And I'd find some people who wanted a home and give it to them free.
Now, a new house standing empty, with staring window and door,
Looks idle, perhaps, and foolish, like a hat on its block in the store.
But there's nothing mournful about it; it cannot be sad and lone
For the lack of something within it that it has never known.
But a house that has done what a house should do,
  a house that has sheltered life,
That has put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife,
A house that has echoed a baby's laugh and held up his stumbling feet,
Is the saddest sight, when it's left alone, that ever your eyes could meet.
So whenever I go to Suffern along the Erie track
I never go by the empty house without stopping and looking back,
Yet it hurts me to look at the crumbling roof and the shutters fallen apart,
For I can't help thinking the poor old house is a house with a broken heart.

*I posted this after coming across it today in our school readings.  This is exactly how I feel when I see an old abandoned house.  

Friday, December 5, 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Getting Ready For Christmas

The day after Thanksgiving begins our Christmas festivities around here. We are not much into shopping with the crowds. Decorating is our chosen pastime. Most of our treasures are passed down from grandparents or have other sentimental meaning. It's wonderful to open up the boxes and rediscover old friends!
My great grandmother's chair

Saturday, November 1, 2014

One Last Bloom

We are about to have our first hard freeze, which means saying goodbye to all things blooming.

So, I cut this last Hydrangea that was blooming so spectacularly while the rest of the blooms were dry and papery.  What a gift a late bloom is!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I Love Sears Homes

My great grandmother had a Sears home,a small bungalow built in the 1920's. It was a tiny, two bedroom home. So small,in fact, my grandmother did not have a bedroom, but slept in the living room as a girl.

I loved that home.  It's still around,but no longer in the family, sadly. However, the current owners are keeping it in good condition, so not all is lost.  

I just love,love,love looking at these houses!  They are just so interesting. To think you could order a home, everything you needed, is really clever.  And they were made of excellent quality materials that would last almost forever.  

There exist two reproduction Sears houses at a state park that we love. We enjoy walking through them. 

And finally,  we visited one that belonged to Laura Ingalls Wilder at Rocky Ridge Farm in Missouri.  It was a gift from her daughter. Imagine! 

I enjoy looking through the house plans here and here and here!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

After the Fact Recording

I used to feel silly adding a task on my "to do" list after I did it. Was I trying to make myself feel better by recording more tasks. Or, did I want to feel more accomplished?  I finally decided not to ask silly questions. I write them down to remember when I did a certain task last.  And, what is wrong with feeling more accomplished!  :)

On another note, after one year, I have found a sign to go over my stove. It says, "FAMILY The Best Thing In Life."  Hooray, the search is over!

Monday, September 29, 2014


Normally I shy away from redundant appliances.  However, I recently bought a second slow cooker at a thrift store. My big slow cooker is fabulous for big batches of food that can be properly stored afterwards,but when we go camping, we can't store a ton of leftovers. In addition,  the larger cooker gets really hot, even on low, and easily overcooks smaller quantities.  I'm thankful to have found this second cooker second hand,too. Tonight the big cooker has a whole chicken cooking, and the small one has potatoes baking. Hopefully breaking my redundancy rule won't stress my limited kitchen storage!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Almost Fall

Tomorrow is the first full day of fall, my favorite season of the year! Today is laundry day, and it's a glorious day when you can line dry sheets. We took a lovely bike ride before lessons this morning. It's a simple pleasure to be out in the cool of the mornings, and still enjoy warmth in the afternoons,  just perfect! Tonight I'm making meatloaf and baked potatoes in the oven. No longer am I worried about heating up the house. It is time for baking, making soups,  and lots of family celebrations with fall birthdays and anniversaries.  Fall is awesome! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Well, There You Have It

Our dishwasher died.  I knew it was only a matter of time. It always seemed to be working hard and making odd sounds.  I am really surprised that it lasted almost a whole year, since we use the dishwasher every day, always more than one load a day, too. When we bought the house, we knew the old dishwasher was going to get a workout, and it might not be up to the challenge given that it was not a top of the line model.

So now begins our journey into hand washing dishes.  The kids have never had to do such a thing.  My husband never had a dishwasher growing up. I had 3 years without one as a young girl who was old enough to wash dishes, which made quite an impression, as in I did not enjoy the chore!

A working dishwasher is certainly a luxury, and eventually we will get it either fixed or replaced, but not for awhile.  We have other goals at the moment.  Until then, I will relive my girlhood, one dish at a time!  Perhaps I will daydream that I am washing up in my old farmhouse, as surely it will not have such a modern convenience.  And, my kids will get a chance to try a new chore while having a happy heart, like their mom.

UPDATE:  Jeff got it to work, but it is on light duty. Not sure it is 100%.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

House Crush

I have a "thing" for houses with front porches.  This one is especially nice.  :)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Tale of Catnip

Everyone who knows me, knows that my cats are super spoiled.  So, it is not unusual that I would plant grass for them.  And naturally, I would want to plant catnip, their favorite herb.  At our last home, we had a splendid patch of it.
Catnip bed at former house.  
Before we moved, we picked a bunch and dried it for winter.  We were careful to make it last the long, cold winter.  Well, then it was finally spring, and it was time to plant a new supply, only we could not find any plants around here for sale.  I was perplexed.  Doesn't anyone else grow catnip?  So, one day as I was walking my kitty around the outside of the house, he stopped to rub a certain little "weed."  Except it wasn't a weed it was catnip, growing wild in my yard!  And, it had just narrowly escaped the mower, as it was not tall enough to be totally chopped up.  I saw this as a gift from above, and quickly transplanted the dear little plant into a big pot of fresh soil.  Then I prayed it would like its new home, and that my kitties would be able to enjoy some fresh catnip one day soon!  Yes, I do pray for my plants and kitties.  :)

This is the little plant soon after it was transplanted.

Here it is today!  

This absolutely proves to me that the Lord cares even about the least little creatures!  Thanks be to God!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Enjoying Late Spring

The winter is not so far behind us that we have forgotten the long cold days.  There is a sweetness to late spring.  The grass is so, so very green from inches and inches of rain, almost weekly.  Quite a few flowers are in bloom.  It's safe to put out delicate annuals.

I just really love this time of the year!  There is the downside of allergies to contend with, but we can overlook that when we think of how much warmth and sunshine is around us at the moment.

I do love spring!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Getting Things Done

I really love that feeling you get when you have had a productive day!  So, what exactly makes a productive day in my opinion? Here are some criteria, based on what I wrote about before,  which form the basics of my daily list.  

  • Pray
  • Read
  • Write
  • Fix
  • Serve
  • Plan
  • Cook
  • Clean
  • Move

I simply write these  8 things in my household journal with a note after each item.  Today's list looked like this.  

  • Pray for hurting church families
  • Reading Isaiah 42, and next chapter in Made To Crave
  • Write in my paper journal
  • Fix ??  (still waiting to fix our upstairs shower) 
  • Serve my family by getting groceries, buy present for Mom 
  • Plan for Friday through Sunday
  • Cook chili for dinner
  • Clean, do a whole house tidy with kids  
  • Move, do work out with Ryan 

So far, I have been able to check everything off today's list, except dinner!  It's been a good day. I have had extra time today to spend planning my daughter's 9th grade school year as well.  I am going to make it my goal to write such a list every day, except Sunday and family days.  Just think how much I will be able to get done!  

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Discovering the New Garden

photo from My Farmhouse Love

I love spring!!  And right now, I am so enjoying discovering all the plants around my new house.  (I will take pictures soon.  Right now, the sky is cloudy and we've had over 5 inches of rain this month.) What is really special is that a lot of the plants are like ones I planted at other houses, and sadly had to leave for others to enjoy.

So far I have discovered hosta, lilies, clematis, echinacea, lilac, phlox, tulip, and hydrangea.  I am not sure of what one flowering bush is yet.  It is not in bloom, but soon.  We have 2 nice hard maple trees, and 2 others that I am unsure of.  I think one is a cottonwood, which is a messy tree, so it doesn't thrill me.

I bought trellis' for the 2 clematis, just in time.  They are growing like crazy!  One week, I saw them peaking through the mulch and then the next week they were wrapping around the trellis'.  I love clematis.  I had to leave one that never bloomed for me.  I was told this little saying about them.

"First year they sleep.  Next year they creep.  Third year they leap!"  

I have one empty spot that I would like to fill with a sun loving perennial.  I will have to wait and see what I find at the nursery.  My last house had very little sun, so this is a treat to get to pick out a sun loving plant. Anyone have a suggestion?  

If funds allow, I will be planting a few cherry tomato plants, catnip, and the sunny perennial, when I get my petunias for the deck boxes.  But I have to wait until after Mother's Day, for that is when my grandfather always said it was safe to plant delicate plants in Indiana.  Hey, that is coming soon!  Yay!  

Next year, I would love to have raised garden boxes again.  We will see. Until then, I am thankful to have all the lovely plants that we do have, one of the reasons I chose this house!  I knew that we would not be able to sink a lot of money into landscaping, so it is very nice that it is all basically done.   

Friday, April 4, 2014

We Who Live in the Quiet Places

"We who live in the quiet places have the opportunity to become acquainted with ourselves, to think our own thoughts, and live our own lives in a way that is not possible for those who are keeping up with the crowd, where there is always something "on for tonight," and who have become so accustomed to crowds that they are dependent upon them for comfort."
Laura Ingalls Wilder

Saturday, March 29, 2014

When the Ordinary is Lovely

Photo from My Farmhouse Love Facebook page. 

It's a rainy cold Saturday here.  The kind of day that is good for baking.  I dug out an old cookbook and baked a recipe for a cake from the 1930's, thinking of how happy it will make my family tonight.

I stripped the sheets off of our bed and put them in the wash.  It will be really nice to crawl into a fresh bed tonight after a busy day.

I watched episodes of The Waltons while ironing shirts and pants for my husband to wear this week.  How I love that show!  You can learn so much from those dear people.  Such things as,"No use wishing for things you can't have."  Also, how to be a good neighbor.

For a little break after dishes and laundry, I got out my cherished copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Ozarks to read a selection about work. I love her wisdom! She writes of us needing work that we love beyond being compensated.  It stirred thoughts of my work as a homemaker and how I love being home.

And then I listened to some wonderful big band music, as I put a chicken to roast in the oven.  In a bit my daughter and I will make some homemade icing for the banana cake. Then soon, my husband will be home from his hard day at work and we will all sit down and enjoy our evening together.

It might seem like one dreary task after another sometimes, but really, I wouldn't have it any other way!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hello Spring?

(Picture from My Farmhouse Love's Facebook page)

While not the official first day of spring, it is exciting to be so close.  It will be spring in name only, as the powers that be are calling for more cold weather.  Even though the temperatures are lower than normal, it has been so cold this winter that below normal is now feeling warm.

This is still a season of changes.  We find ourselves with open windows and a furnace turned off.  Then in the early hours of the day, we are cold and wish for the furnace to be back on.  Hot soup one night and bringing out the grill the next is not uncommon.  A winter mix one day and the next we have a perfect spring day to enjoy.

The best part of early spring is the hope one feels.  Birds sing of this hope.  The air is filled with it, too.  I have even seen little shoots poking up in the dirt looking for the same hope.  Aww, spring!!!

Friday, February 28, 2014

My Little Notebook

Electronic journals, readers and calendars are very handy.  But, I  have always loved paper.  I keep a paper calendar.  I prefer books in print. And, for the last several years, I have been writing little bits and bobs in my paper notebook, along with blogging.  I call it my Homemaker's Journal.

On the first page, I have written, "Hard work means prosperity; only fools idle away their time."  Proverbs 12:11.  Oh, do I need this verse!

In my little paper notebook, I write my weekly menus.  I write short "to do" lists for each day.  I write cleaning lists.  I copy recipes that I want to try.  I also write down quotes that I want to remember.  And I write check lists so that when we have to be away from home for a day, I can check the list and not forget little things that are so easy to forget. It is not fancy at all.  It's written in a composition notebook that I usually pick up a few for 50 cents around back to school time.  Usually one will last all school year.  But, I love it.

Here are the last few things I wrote in my notebook:

This week I found a formula for shower cleaner, which I made today.  I will try it out tomorrow.

1 part vinegar, warmed up.
1 part Dawn dish washing liquid, stirred in.
Put in spray bottle and get busy!

This quote from J. C. Ryle , "It costs something to be a true Christian.  It will cost us our sins, our self-righteousness, out ease, and our worldliness."  Hit me where I live, in my comfort zone!

Crash Hot Potatoes (The were really good!)
Red potatoes, as many as desired, boiled until fork tender.
Preheat oven to 450F.
Drizzle baking sheet with olive oil.
Set potatoes on the sheet, gently smash with a masher, rotating both ways.
Drizzle again with olive oil, season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, favorite herbs.
Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake 20 minutes.

What one of my favorite blogs says to do when recovering from an illness, which I was this past week.  

  • Clean something
  • Cook something
  • Plan something
  • Read something
  • Write something
  • Fix something
  • Sew something
  • Serve someone
This little list inspired me to keep going.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cookies, Snow, and Minimalism

My daughter and I made our favorite cut-out cookies yesterday for Valentine's Day.

These are fantastic with layers of flavor.

Do you like to celebrate little winter holidays?  I do.  Celebrating makes life more fun this time of the year, especially when it is snowing again and you are growing weary of snow!

Speaking of snow, we got 5 inches yesterday.  This picture was just the start.  More is coming by morning.  

And finally, a Minimalist Mantra from Money Saving Mom

Stop buying the unnecessary.
Toss half your stuff,
Learn contentedness.
Reduce half again.
List four essential things in
your life, do these first,
stop doing the non-essential.
Clear distractions, focus
on each moment.
Let go of attachment to
doing, having more.
Fall in love with less.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Facebook Finds

{Just a few of my favorites from Facebook this past week.}

One of my most favorite pages from Facebook is Porch Sitting Union of America.  I love the pictures they post as well as their porch sitting attitude!  Here is my favorite one from this week.  I could do some serious porch sitting here!

And this house from Abandoned Everything is simply divine!  I love the windows up in the attic.  I can envision a little cozy room up there for reading or star gazing.  Someone just has to restore this gem!

These flowers from Country Living Magazine's page helped me keep my sights on spring.  I can't wait to make a bouquet from a cutting garden I have in mind.  

Do you have any favorite Facebook pages to share?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Farmhouse Dreams

Photo credit:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Abandoned-Everything/496944700356415

See that beautiful house up there?  You might say it is my dream house. When I look at it, I see perfection. At least it is what I think is my dream, despite the fact that I am not a rehab expert, just an average HGTV viewer.  And I enjoy my modern conveniences, so there is the second conflict in this dream.  But it is fun to dream, and one never knows, it could happen!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Contentment in Winter

We're having a colder than usual winter, snowier as well. Thankfully, we were still able to go on our annual beach hike at our favorite state park,  Indiana Dunes. We were all dressed warmly, another thing to be grateful for. Our 3 hour drive home was a bit frightful in spots with the wind blowing snow back on the highway  faster than the plows could keep up. All in all, my heart was full and we had a fun family outing.  Only 57 more days until spring!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


I used to define contentment as being thankful for what you have. I still think thankfulness is a big part of contentment, but I also think it is more. I now think that contentment is best defined by simply wanting what you have!
When tempted to be discontented,  I used to feel guiltly, because I was being ungrateful for all that I had. While that is still true, guilt doesn't solve my heart problem. The positive way to stop discontinted feelings is to concentrate on wanting what I have.
When I want what I have, there is no time to want what someone else has. And, wanting what I have is the ultimate in thankfulness.  
(The picture I chose for this post is our wonderful van and pop up.  Both things I struggled to be content with in the past. )

A Front Porch

One of the things I was really hoping to have on a home was a front porch.  We looked at many houses that did have some great porches, and I held out for awhile, but in the end, I had to give up that dream, for the best location. So, now it is time to get creative.  And what better time to think about sitting outside than when you are stuck inside because it is freezing!

I have some good ideas to feed this need of mine.  For instance, our front yard gets wonderfully shady in the afternoon.  So, I am planning to take advantage of this feature and put a couple nicer chairs, like in the picture below, out front.

Yes, I won't have a porch, but I will have a nice spot to sit and enjoy.  I'd really like to make an effort to be out front because I am hoping to meet some neighbors that way.  We do have a really nice deck out back, but you can't be neighborly that way!  And even if the chairs have to be plastic due to money restraints, who cares.

Image source:  Google images