Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Kitchen Love

Having a wood-burning stove in the kitchen is tops on my list of dream kitchen territory.  

Thursday, December 17, 2015

{p,h,f,r} Christmas Decorations

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

~Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life~

Every Thursday with Like Mother, Like Daughter

This week, I'd like to share some of my favorite Christmas decorations with you.  


My talented daughter drew this in chalk pastels a few years ago.  


The ceramic tree and nativity make me think of happy days gone by as they were made by my husband's and my grandmothers.  They are a reminder of their love for all things Christmas and of us.  They both are gone now to their Creator and we miss them mightily this time of the year.  These pieces are treasures.  


I find this little mouse sitting next to Dorothy to be quite funny.  Also, take a close look at the nativity, there seems to be a Lego guy added.  Probably an attempt at being funny.  The others look concerned, don't they?  


The reality is, I have so many decorations that have sentimental meaning that I cannot share just a few! 

Thank you for stopping by.  Happy week before Christmas!! 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

~Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life~

Every Thursday with Like Mother, Like Daughter


We have a family joke that says if you look up the word pretty in a dictionary, Dorothy's picture is there. Yes, we are a bit cat crazy around here.  Our dear Dorothy is the definition of pretty and she brings us so much joy.  She is the type of cat who will forever be a kitten, very playful and energetic.  She has been our baby for three years now.  She is pretty. 


Lake Michigan in October is my happy place.  Actually, I love Lake Michigan in any season, but October is the best for hiking the dunes, especially if it is a bright clear day.  We will be walking the dunes in December, but it will be cold.  What a lake!


These two, best friends, brother and sister, always funny.  They keep me young and hopping.  


I love this picture of an ordinary day, learning at home, both children diligently working.  There is nothing nicer.  Yes, the house gets messy, but I would not change a thing.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by. See you next week.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Old House Love

Adding another old house to my collection of dream houses.  I do wonder if I will ever be brave enough to own an old house.  We are not handy, nor do we have extra money to spend on a fixer.  I do love the idea of an old house, though.  Time will tell, right?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fall Favorites

Fall just oozes coziness from the cooler days to the smells of pumpkin pie.  This fall has been especially wonderful.  I thought I would share some of my favorite things about this fall, here.

My youngest son has developed a love of decaf coffee this fall.  We have decided to stop our school work at 10 o'clock and enjoy a cup while watching a Bob Ross video, another of his obsessions.  These little breaks are very special to me.  He is 14 and growing up so fast.  I am honored that he wants to spend this time together.

We have had warm enough weather to ride our bikes this fall, which is one of the best things I know.  We get to ride around our neighborhood for half an hour, enjoying the fresh air as we go. The wind can be brisk, but we are bundled up and cozy.

Another fall favorite has been curling up on the sofa of the evening with a plush blanket while watching classic TV shows like Emergency.  We are currently enjoying a made up game of Emergency Bingo, a game that my 16-year-old daughter invented after discovering a love for that show.

We have reawakened our love for baking.  Who does not enjoy the smell of pumpkin pie spice wafting through the air?  My daughter is an accomplished baker and we enjoy her efforts most of all in the fall when ice cream no longer seems as interesting.

It has been the fall of apples, so many apples. I set out to try as many new apples as possible this year.  I have been blessed to live near a really nice orchard.  I think we have tried more apple varieties than ever before.  So far my favorites have been the Jonagold and Pink Ladies.

Fall is a time of preparing for winter, as I see it.  Preparing our hearts for the cold to come.  This certainly has been a fall to remember!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Know Thyself

I just finished reading Gretchen Rubin's book, Better Than Before.  In her book, she categorizes people into four groups, Upholders, Obligers, Questioners, and Rebels.  Each group has their own motivation for getting things done, maintaining habits, making decisions, and being productive.  You can read more about the categories, here.  You can even take her short quiz to see where you line up.

I happen to be an Obliger, the most common type.  As an Obliger, I find external forces most motivating. This is why I have been successful at exercising consistently for the last couple of years.  I have linked my exercising to my family and by using apps like Myfitnesspal.  I love getting feedback and I need the accountability.

Being an Obliger has its downfalls. I am not motivated to keep promises to myself.  This frustrates me.  No matter how I try, I am always more motivated if someone else is counting on me to follow-through.  What I learned from Gretchen Rubin to help me past this is to work this to my advantage.  She doesn't advocate trying to change your nature.  She says you will get farther if you work with your tendency.  That is brilliant.

So, I need to set up some accountability measures.  One thing that has always worked before is to have a checklist.  I like to see the boxes checked off.  Also, having people come over to my house regularly gets me cleaning my house weeks in advance, like for Thanksgiving for instance.  I have already started doing some of the little nagging things that I do not normally do, but will do if I know someone is coming over soon.

Another area I have seen fruit from accountability is our homeschool.  Now that my kids have actual online teachers, they are getting a lot more work done and they are actually enjoying the process.  I love having this external force pushing us along.  I am no longer the only one prodding them.  We did pretty well on our own keeping on task, but it was a major effort for me to pull it off.  That energy can now be used for other things.

As an action point, I am going to start looking at my weak areas and see if I can set up some external accountability measures.    I am not sure that I need an actual accountability partner.  I need to do some thinking about what would work best.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Surprise

My aunt's pretty country home

Grandpa's homemade feeder

Oneida's Katrina pattern retired in 1994

Family is important to me.  That is why I make every effort to make my extended family a priority.  My mom, aunt, uncle and kids set aside time to have a monthly lunch at a restaurant that is kind of in the middle of our three cities.  We have done this for the last two years since Grandma passed away.

This week, my precious aunt brought me a surprise, Grandma's stainless and Grandpa's bird feeder!   Grandma's stainless is something that I really needed, as mine is either lost or we just never have enough spoons for five people to have soup and ice cream, for example.  The feeder is a total blessing as I was recently looking for a feeder and even considered making one out of a milk jug. My birds will be well fed this winter.

I love spending time with my family. I am thankful when they chose to bless me with their unwanted items, too!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

My Happy Place

It will be six months or more before I get to enjoy another warm visit to Lake Michigan.  We were blessed to have such mild weather in October for this trip.  I love visiting in any weather, but the fall is my favorite time of the year to be at the lake.   It is my happy place, indeed!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Good Bye Old Friend

Our old friend has been re-homed, but not without a little angst.  

Years ago, when we bought our pop-up, we were a different family.  We were renting a house, which meant no home improvement weekends.  We had little kids, who liked camping.  We had time to go away. We spent every extra penny we had on camping.  Some summers we would go as many as 8 times!

And then, time passed, and we changed.  The teens did not always want to go away.  School activities started to take up weekends.  The $40 a month to store the camper started to feel like a burden, since we could not use it as often as we liked.  Our only tow vehicle became our older vehicle, and frankly, was not up to the long trips with a heavy camper.  And then, the last time we went camping, I realized that perhaps going away was not the best way to accomplish our goals.  I was always exhausted after a trip.

Yet, it is sad to say good bye.  I will miss sleeping in the camper on the perfect summer night with all of us snug and happy.  I am thankful for all the fun times and dry nights.  It was a good camper.  I am hoping its next family will love it as much as we did.  (I will not miss the cold nights, rainy trips, or bugs!!)

Thankfully, we are not giving up our trips away, totally.  We are going to rent camping cabins near our favorite lake, perhaps make fewer trips, but still quality trips with family.  All seasons come to an end.  It is just a part of life. I am enjoying this new season, and holding on to all the wonderful memories of the last one.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Season of Growth

Growing through trial does not feel very good.  As my pastor has said, "Hard is not bad.  Hard is just hard." And, truly my difficulties pale in comparison to so many others.  My biggest problems are a result of my own doing, as well.  Choices have consequences, even good choices.  So, as I struggle, I am trying to keep in mind that hopefully at the end of this season, I will see fruit.  In the meantime, I am thankful to have opportunities for growth.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


We have had so much rain lately that the garden boxes are literally overflowing!

I am in love with these boxes and have hopes to get a few more next year.  I can see that we need one just for tomatoes, one for herbs, and another for vegetables. The box dedicated to flowers was well worth it.  I adore Zinnias.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


On my list of wants is an iron bed.  I think they are stunning. I can remember wanting one as a girl even.  I had a beautiful brass bed,as a young child, but it was impossible to keep shiny.I think that I should like one that is painted white.  I think they look best with a quilt, too, and lace curtains.  Perhaps one day, I will find my white iron bed.  Perhaps I will not.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015