Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Very Vintage Christmas Sale

I decided in the wee hours of the morning today (back when the hunters got up), to run a sale on vintage items in my Etsy shop. If you know somebody who likes vintage, I have a 20% off sale from now until December 19th on all vintage items.

Vintage puzzle recently listed

What do I have that's vintage? Mostly puzzles ranging from the 1940s all the way up to the 1980s. But I also have some vintage children's books, Roy Rogers sheet music, postcard, ands a few other items.

If you know somebody who loves these types of items, feel free to give them a heads up about the big sale that lasts from now until December 19th. I hope to be adding new vintage items frequently, but, while my intentions are good, I do have a few lovely distractions.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Good Morning, Sunshine!

I've felt overwhelmed lately. Twenty-four hours simply isn't enough. I had grand blog schemes to chronicle our Big Trip Out West. I have about 40,000 other pictures I wanted to share. So much has been happening, and not the least of these happenings is three deaths in my family in four months. Happenings and deaths deplete my reserves.

Yesterday was hard for me. Yesterday was the viewing/visitation for my cousin's son. He was young, and I keep remembering his smile and his twinkling eyes. Who is ever ready for the death of somebody who should have been attending your own funeral?

But then, I looked outside this morning.

Isn't it funny how God knew best exactly what would cheer me up? (Silly me thought I just needed some chocolate!) 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Handmade Christmas Shopping

I recently realized I had neglected to add a link to my friends' Etsy page. I wanted to share the link now especially because they make so many cute items that would be perfect for somebody for Christmas.

The Kovals of Koval Kreations make hand-sewn clothing and baskets. Because they go to our church and because I've seen their wares at a craft fair, I can tell you they are really well-made. They also do custom orders.

Check out their Etsy shop here (or a link is now available on the left sidebar of this blog).

For more handmade Christmas shopping, I'd love to recommend my own Etsy shop, but there's not much handmade there except for a couple of crocheted bonnets. However, if you love the bonnet style but none of the colors, we can custom-make something in a color you like, too.

You can find more handmade items at the other Etsy shops on my sidebar. Katie (at KTsQuilts) has a lot of handmade items. She's really talented, and she's my cousin. (I'm not saying those two facts are related, but you are free to draw your own conclusions.)

Happy shopping!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Happy Heat Day

Well, today's the day. My husband woke up and turned on the heat. It is chilly in here, and since our garden did nothing this year, we have no pumpkins roasting to keep the house warm.

Hmmm. . . maybe yesterday was heat day because I turned on one of the heaters in the addition last evening before bed for a little while. I was chilled to the bone from being outside all afternoon making cider.

But then again, does it count that yesterday we had a heater going in the garage so everybody could warm their hands while making cider?

This heat game I made up is so confusing!

Because I'm writing the blog post today and because my husband turned on the main heater this morning, I declare today-- Monday, October 22, 2018-- the official 2018 Heat Day.

Click here for last year's Heat Day post.

Oops. That wasn't the "official" Heat Day 2017 post. Evidently, this year is an EPIC fail with my game. Today I definitely lost my heat game. Losing a game you make up and change all the rules to in which you are the only player-- I think that is just pathetic.

Oh, well, always next year.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

TBTOW Day 7- Part 1

Date:  July 7, 2018
Starting Point: Mitchell, South Dakota
Destination: Custer, South Dakota
Song of the Day: "Badlands" by Bruce Springsteen

In the teeny, tiny breakfast room of our hotel, we had a small world moment first thing in the day. We met somebody who lives the next town over and who also knows our neighbors, exactly where we live, and so on. It is, indeed, a small world.

Anyway, after breakfast we got on the road because we had a long, long day ahead of us. First stop was a drive-by of the Corn Palace right there in Mitchell, so it wasn't actually a stop.

On the way to our not-a-stop, we saw our first buffalo/bison on the side of the road/street.

Here are a few drive-by photos of the Corn Palace which was not complete yet this year. I liked seeing the work in progress. 

After filling the gas tank, we actually did hit the road. It wasn't long before we saw our first sign of things to come. 

To Be Continued. . . 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Some on Sunday

I'm finding it difficult to post things I want to post nowadays, but every once in a while I can find a few extra moments.

1.  Mea Culpa.  It's all my fault that Burt Reynolds died, I think, maybe. You see, a couple of days before he died, I was prompted to renew some listings on Etsy that were about to expire. One of them was my vintage Burt Reynolds Horse Ranch deck of playing cards. As I was contemplating the renewal, I thought to myself, "I'll bet these cards won't sell until he dies." And then I renewed the cards. About two days later, he died, and the cards immediately sold.

2. School. Tuesday marked our first day back at school (at home, of course). I wasn't entirely unprepared, but the day didn't go as planned. Every little thing took so long, and there seemed to be so many interruptions. By 3 o'clock, I was in full-blown meltdown mode.

Why am I telling you? Well, if you are a homeschooling mom like me, you are probably discouraged by all the homeschool moms online who seem to have it all together. They are planned. They teach. They succeed. They blog it. They pin it. They seem perfect. But that's not me, and I own up to it because trying to live up to those false standards is futile. If you're as imperfect as I am, I want you to know that you're not alone.

And the rest of the week was much better once I altered my expectations. I know there will be many interruptions in the next couple of weeks, so I am mentally prepared for them. I'm telling myself this time spent easing into new routines will pay off later. And if not, I can't stress out about it because that isn't productive at all.

3.  Birthday Season. The fall birthdays in our house are quickly approaching. While we try to keep things simple, we do want the birthday kid to have a special day. That means I'm busy planning parties and gifts. Perhaps you are looking forward to see which of my cakes flop?

And that's all for now. Not even a picture! For shame. Maybe I'll do better later?

Thursday, August 30, 2018

TBTOW- Day 6

July 6, 2018
Starting point: Tomah, Wisconsin
Destination: Mitchell, South Dakota
Song of the Day: Pa's Fiddle Medley (from a CD of music from the Laura Ingall's books)

The children and I managed to get on the road without incident (at least, almost two months later, I can't remember an incident). Our first high point of the day was seeing the Mississippi River.

My navigator had to capture the Mississippi River between the trees.

Next we met up with the guys in Northfield, Minnesota, at the final worship service at the Higher Things conference. How happy I was to see them in their orange/cantaloupe conference shirts! And, let me tell you, if Lutheran worship is your thing, this service was beautiful.

We said our goodbyes to family and friends who were there and began our grand family vacation. This, indeed was the real beginning of The Big Trip Out West.

We listened to our song of the day and set off to picnic on the Banks of Plum Creek. But, alas, just as it happened in the book, Plum Creek was flooded, and our first exciting stop on TBTOW didn't happen. I was disappointed more than anybody, but who can argue with Mother Nature?

We pressed on to our hotel in Mitchell, South Dakota. The landscape was notably flat.

Beautiful sunset through a buggy windshield

I have also noted in my travel journal that we saw "cool metal sculptures." My memory fails me, so I don't know where these sculptures were. But perhaps if you're driving on the interstate to Mitchell, South Dakota, you'll be lucky enough to see them, too.

Monday, August 13, 2018


July 5, 2018
Starting point: Defiance, Ohio
Destination: Tomah, Wisconsin
Song of the Day: "I'm Going to Go Back There Someday" by the Muppets

We listened to our song of the day as we pulled out of the driveway at Grandma's house. This day was to be my biggest adventure; my first overnight solo travel with many children. Day 5 was all about the driving. We needed to cover the miles to bridge the gap between us and Daddy. The Big Trip Out West proper wouldn't really begin until we reunited with our family at the close of the Higher Things conference.

My navigator in this adventure was my 2nd oldest son, the 12-year-old. He was in charge of maps and GPS. He was the supplier of toll money. He handed me food and drink. And, most importantly, he was in charge of the tunage.

He also kept me amused. We have an essential oil diffuser clipped to a vent on the dashboard to help the carsick-prone folks not vomit. At one point, my son looks at it and asks, "Can we put Hoppe's #9 in this thing?" Can you guess I live in a house of hunters?

The navigator also had to take some pictures.

You can see we drove through Chicago. We also enjoyed cool rock formations in Wisconsin. 

When we arrived at Cranberry Country Lodge in Tomah, the kids couldn't wait to play in the swimming pool area (it had slides!). However, it was too close to suppertime, and we would be eating out. Denny's was across the street, and somehow I made it through a sit-down dinner at a restaurant with little ones who had mostly been confined to carseats all day. 

When we returned to the hotel, we changed clothes and headed to the pool. Folks, it was not fun to take several non-swimming children to a pool without Daddy. It doesn't help that without glasses I can't see very far to supervise the children who can swim (though not super-strongly). Yet I managed. It might not have been pretty, but I survived. I'm thankful I had a couple of bigger kids to help.

We settled in for the night with some over-tired children who missed Daddy and home. During the chaos of getting ready for bed, however, I called to reassure my mother that we made it to our destination safely and learned that Uncle Jim had died that morning. In all the excitement surrounding bedtime, I decided to wait to tell the children until we were with Daddy again. 

To be honest, at the end of the day and when all the children were finally asleep, I was proud of myself for managing, but I was terribly sad.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

TBTOW- Days 2-4

I'm afraid this will be a boring post because I don't have any pictures (at least none without my children) of the time spent at Grandma's house. That doesn't mean we didn't have fun.

Day 2- Sadly, we parted ways with part of our family. My husband, son, youngest brother-in-law, and oldest sister-in-law headed off to Northfield, Minnesota, for the Higher Things conference. Left at Grandma's house, the rest of us decided we needed to party for an uncle's 20th birthday.

Early in the day, Grandpa took the two youngest to the farm store (and I tagged along to buy dog food for Calvin since he'd be staying at their house while we were off gallivanting). The two oldest went with the birthday boy to Walmart.

Evening brought on the party with many of Uncle J.'s friends attending. There were hot dogs over a fire, Kool-Aid, Jell-O cake, and all sorts of other treats. Lots of fun.

Less fun was talking to my mother and hearing that my Uncle Jim (at home on hospice due to pancreatic cancer) was in pain and not eating.

More fun was that at bedtime, Daddy was able to face-time with us. The kids missed him, but they liked the fishy-faces he made.

Day 3- Tuesday was another fun-filled day at Grandma's. The older kids went to the dairy where several uncles work/have worked. My daughter was so excited to see a cow in labor with the calf partially out. She said, "It was both the coolest and grossest thing ever!" In the evening, the girls returned and saw the new calf.

Cousins (and their parents) arrived from Tennessee, and lots of playing commenced. It was another late night.

News from the Higher Things conference trickled in. My dear eldest took full advantage of the cafeteria's offerings and ate cake before his supper AND drank lots of Dr. Pepper. Gee, I thought I taught him about the importance of nutrition. There was also a petting zoo with snakes.

Day 4- Day 4 coincided with the 4th of July. Our day at Grandma's saw the older kids playing cool made-up games with older uncles. All kids enjoyed 101 Dalmations movie in the afternoon. The evening was all about the 4th of July with lots of family over for lots of good food (smoked meat! Aunt Kimmy cupcakes! homemade ice cream!) and fireworks. My littlest was scared of the fireworks, so I missed about half of them.

Unfortunately, the Higher Things crew missed fireworks due to weather. Other less than fun things for me: washing clothes and re-packing. Also, more sad news about Uncle Jim; he continued to go downhill.

Thus ended our stay at Grandma's house; you might say it went out with a bang!

(Day 5's post will have pictures.)

Friday, August 10, 2018

"The Big Trip Out West" Begins

For months we prepared for what became known as "The Big Trip Out West." Even the littlest referred to it always as "The Big Trip Out West." However, "The Big Trip Out West" is a long thing to type over and over, so from here on out, it will be abbreviated as TBTOW.

Anyway, TBTOW was to accomplish three things: 1) visit family, 2) see beautiful sights, and 3) include a Higher Things conference for my oldest son and my husband. We thoroughly accomplished each goal.

The trip began after church on July 1st. We'd packed everything the day before, so after church we ate lunch, cleaned up, and left. Our destination for Day 1 was Ohio. Grandma's house. Truly a worthy destination. The kids were so excited; in fact, this was the spot many of them were looking forward to most.

Once we were on the road and said a prayer for safe and fun travel, we listened to the (pre-selected by me) song of the day: "On the Road Again" by Willie Nelson-- always a fun song for a road trip.

Stops along the way were for gas, food (at Walmart), and Cabela's in Wheeling, West Virginia. Energy was high even as the sun went down because we were getting ever closer to Grandma's house.* It was just before midnight when we arrived to a warm welcome. We carried in some luggage, figured out sleeping arrangements, and went to bed.

Day One safely ended.

*You should know that Grandpa lives here, too, and really the children don't prefer Grandma over Grandpa (or vice versa), but for whatever reason, the children call it "Grandma's house."

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Thanks, Johnny Cash

Even if you can't tell by my blog, I'm still alive. We took a long vacation in July. I want to chronicle it here, but I'm still processing it and we haven't even loaded onto the computer all of the pictures from the four cameras. 

We had a song for each of our traveling days. The one that sums up our trip best is probably the one by Johnny Cash*: 

I've Been Everywhere

I was totin' my pack along the dusty Winnemucca road,
When along came a semi with a high and canvas-covered load.
"If you're goin' to Winnemucca, Mack, with me you can ride."
And so I climbed into the cab and then I settled down inside.
He asked me if I'd seen a road with so much dust and sand.
And I said, "Listen, I've traveled every road in this here land!"

I've been everywhere, man.
I've been everywhere, man.
Crossed the desert's bare, man.
I've breathed the mountain air, man.
Of travel I've a-had my share, man.
I've been everywhere.

I've been to
Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota,
Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota,
Wichita, Tulsa, Ottawa, Oklahoma,
Tampa, Panama, Mattawa, La Paloma,
Bangor, Baltimore, Salvador, Amarillo,
Tocopilla, Barranquilla, and Padilla, I'm a killer.

I've been everywhere, man.
I've been everywhere, man.
Crossed the desert's bare, man.
I've breathed the mountain air, man.
Of travel I've a-had my share, man.

I've been everywhere.

I've been to
Boston, Charleston, Dayton, Louisiana,
Washington, Houston, Kingston, Texarkana,
Monterey, Faraday, Santa Fe, Tallapoosa,
Glen Rock**, Black Rock, Little Rock, Oskaloosa,
Tennessee to Hennessey, Chicopee, Spirit Lake,
Grand Lake, Devil's Lake, Crater Lake, for Pete's sake.

I've been everywhere, man.
I've been everywhere, man.
Crossed the desert's bare, man.
I've breathed the mountain air, man.
Of travel I've a-had my share, man.
I've been everywhere.

I've been to
Louisville, Nashville, Knoxville, Ombabika,
Schefferville, Jacksonville, Waterville, Costa Rica,
Pittsfield, Springfield, Bakersfield, Shreveport,
Hackensack, Cadillac, Fond du Lac, Davenport,
Idaho, Jellico, Argentina, Diamantina,
Pasadena, Catalina, see what I mean-a.

I've been everywhere, man.
I've been everywhere, man.
Crossed the desert's bare, man.
I've breathed the mountain air, man.
Of travel I've a-had my share, man.
I've been everywhere.

I've been to
Pittsburgh, Parkersburg, Gravelbourg, Colorado,
Ellensburg, Rexburg, Vicksburg, El Dorado,
Larimore, Admore, Haverstraw, Chatanika,
Chaska, Nebraska, Alaska, Opelika,
Baraboo, Waterloo, Kalamazoo, Kansas City,
Sioux City, Cedar City, Dodge City, what a pity.

I've been everywhere, man.
I've been everywhere, man.
Crossed the desert's bare, man.
I've breathed the mountain air, man.
Of travel I've a-had my share, man.
I've been everywhere.

I've been everywhere.***

The highlighted places are the places I know we were in July-- to the best of my memory. We especially enjoyed singing the chorus together as we neared our house at the end of the journey. In the upcoming weeks, I hope to share some of our adventures with you. 

*Although we listened to the Johnny Cash version on our iPod, I learned this morning while searching for the lyrics that Hank Snow originally sang this version. BUT this song has a more universal appeal; you should do a quick internet search about it if you're into that sort of thing.

**Glen Rock: I just learned there are many Glen Rock/Glenrock places in the U. S. The one we went through was Glenrock, Wyoming.

***It occurs to me this song might make a fun homeschool geography unit. Hmmm....

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Sweet Things in May

May is such a sweet month with all the flowers and birds and sunshine (or rain, if you're us). We also had some notable desserts in May.

First up was the Mother's Day delightful banana pudding. My son checked out a Good Eats cookbook (by Alton Brown) at the library. I told both him and his brother that they could pick out something to make from it. The eldest wanted to make banana pudding (the hot kind) for Mother's Day. This dish even had homemade vanilla wafers made with homemade vanilla sugar. It was yummy with a mountain of meringue.

My son's first (and perfect) meringue 

Other than the tornado warning, it was a delightful Mother's Day!

And what could be sweeter than a daughter's birthday? I suppose it was a daughter helping make her birthday cake. My oldest daughter wanted a sand castle birthday cake. She wanted it to have graham cracker crumb sand. The idea for this came from a Food Network show (Kids Baking Championship, I think). 

So we made a sand castle cake. This was an easy peasy one.

Sea stars

I made these stars by putting a little sugar on the counter and using a rolling pin to flatten some gummy candies. Then I cut out a star shape with a knife. It wasn't hard at all.

We used two circle cakes on top of a sheet cake. The sheet cake was frosted blue, and the layer cake was frosted in white. We then covered the blue with paper towels and went crazy with making a graham cracker crumb mess. I carefully removed the paper towels covered in crumbs, and the blue frosting was still sans crumbs.

Real seashells and making "waves"

Stars from the top

The flag was just a paper glued to a paper straw I had on hand
The birthday girl was very happy with her self-designed cake, and I was very happy to have had lots of help. Plus, it was an easy cake that needed no special equipment at all.

Coming soon: The June birthday cake (Don't miss this one! It has a tragic story.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Kids These Days

Last year we bought a digital camera at a flea market for $5. It was to be for the kids to take pictures, and take pictures they do!

Some pictures need explanation. Some do not, but I'll explain them anyway.

This is the curb outside the local elementary school. In the top of the picture you can see some feet. Some of those feet belong to some of my children who won the American Legion Auxiliary's Americanism essay contest. We were invited to the school for the presentation of the awards. I called it a field trip because the kids were able to see what a school is like.

I guess this next one is somebody's head or the ceiling.

A bird in the gravel outside our back door (before the patio was poured). Can you see it?

A Thanksgiving turkey that still hangs on our bedroom door.

Maybe they took this one because they want to travel here or maybe because a certain state has a capital with a similar name to a certain daughter? I just don't know.

I'm fairly certain this picture was taken to show the whole world how I let my clean laundry sit in baskets to get nice and wrinkly.

This picture was supposed to be irises ready to bloom, but the bricks are in focus instead.

The overwhelming majority of kid pictures are Lego creations. This one is/was (not sure if it still exists) a creative model of a city, complete with airplay runway and all sorts of cool details.

And this last picture was taken by my daughter. It is showcased at her new blog, A Nature Girl's World. If you want an explanation of this picture, you should click on over and read about it.


Friday, May 4, 2018

Five on Friday

1. First Egg. We didn't think we'd get any eggs this year since April 15 came and went (that's been when the guineas started laying in years past). But on Tuesday my son found the first egg.

First guinea egg 2018

Since then we've only found 3 eggs, so I still think the hens are slowing down. I still love watching those crazy birds making their rounds about the yard.

2.  Boys' Room.  I asked the boys if I could show pictures of their new bedroom in the addition. They agreed.

Calvin made it in this shot, too.

The green walls and brown carpet make me think of mint-chocolate chip ice cream every time I walk into their room. The room is quite cozy.

3.  Walk Across Maryland.  I've been spending some time this last week organizing an event for homeschoolers to walk across Maryland in Hancock where the distance is only 1.8 miles. If you happen to be a local homeschooler and are interested in taking part, send me a note.

4.  May Listing Challenge.  My oldest son challenged me to list one new item on Etsy for each day of the month of May. Since I am busy with other crafting/mending projects, it looks like all new items will be either craft supply or vintage. So far this month, I've met the challenge.

My favorite I've listed so far this month is this vintage postcard.

Saucy little postcard!

5. More Construction.  I know I posted just on Sunday about the completion of the project, but look what showed up in our backyard this week.

Yesterday the masons showed up to prepare the site for a new concrete pad for the back patio. This morning the concrete truck came and delivered. The masons are now waiting for it to set up to put on the finishing touches. I'm not sure how the rain clouds coming in will help.

Have a lovely weekend.

Sunday, April 29, 2018


Way back in December, I was wanting so badly to post pictures of the completed addition to the parsonage and the new and beautiful wood floors, but we decided to wait until we had an open house for all the congregation to see it in person first.

Well, today was the open house, so now I must post pictures.

To tease you a little more, first I'll show you pictures of our improved front flower bed. We worked to get this in shape to welcome people for the open house. The kids worked with us planting some new flowers, moving rocks away, spreading mulch, and then moving the rock edging back in place. I should also point out the lovely rustic trellis my husband made last week to replace the older and decaying one; I think our clematis is loving it as much I am.

Ignore the messy porch in back. We fixed that up, too.

Creative circles of rocks

And now, since you've been waiting for months and driven to distraction most of your days just wondering how our building project turned out on the inside. . .


This picture of the hallway was taken way back in December. The following pictures I took today after our guests had left and after we'd (mostly) cleared the table.

Our dining room

The school room (from the dining room)

And, finally, part of the addition-- the playroom/sewing room/sitting area. It's a big space!

Did you notice Calvin found his way into most of these pictures?

I realize I've left large parts out of this mini-tour. I don't have a picture of our television/living area because the kids were all lounging around there when I had the camera out. Also, I decided to ask the boys for permission before posting pictures of their new bedroom online. But at least you have an idea now and can finally sleep well tonight.

Thank goodness, right? 😉

We truly love this space. We are still figuring out how to use and decorate some of the space (and you know decorating is NOT my strong suit), but it has been a joy to see the beautiful floors each day, to enjoy the sunlight streaming into the living area, and to be able to spread out a lot more.

I feel so blessed that our congregation takes such good care of us. Thank you.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Fun Finds

We've had need of furniture since we have new rooms in the addition, so my husband and I have been taking turns shopping at the local Friday night auction frequently this year. I love the auction!

In addition to furniture, I've picked up a few lots with other things that I wanted-- some books, souvenir spoons, and cool stuff I thought I might be able to sell on Etsy. I've really enjoyed picking up items I want to sell because I can enjoy having and looking at the "stuff" without having it clutter up the house forever (as long as I'm able to sell it, that is).

Some of the finds I really liked most were the cards I picked up.

This joker cracks me up.

If anybody out there is a Hagerstown native, do you know anything about Ringer Electric Service or where the building featured on these cards is located?

Old "Remembrance" cards from Hagerstown

I think my favorite find was tucked in a box of souvenir spoons-- original cards for the game of Clue. I love the characters, and my son noticed something interesting about the revolver card. Can you see it, too?
It was Miss Scarlett with the revolver in the ballroom!

That's right. The "revolver" pictured isn't a revolver at all. Also, the versions of Clue I've always played showed the knife as a lethal looking dagger, but this version shows a regular (dull) table knife.  (If you're interested in seeing it, the picture is on my Etsy shop OR you could just google it.)

That's the kind of thing that gets me excited about my auction finds; I just have to be careful not to buy everything I'm curious about!


Monday, April 2, 2018


To be completely honest, while the following overheard snippets were actually heard by me (out of the mouths of my loved ones), I can't remember when. Yesterday I noticed them in a draft I had never finished.

I do hope you enjoy.

My husband noticed our son "taking care" of his baby sister and remarked incredulously:  "He wiped her hands with an English muffin!"

When asked if he wanted a balloon at the dentist's office, our dear boy said, "Hmm. I'm not sure. A balloon is a lot of personal responsibility that I'm not sure I want."

I only wish I could remember ALL of the crazy things that are done and said around here!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Dear Spring

Dear Spring,

     I am sorry you have been delayed. I was so looking forward to greeting you today when you arrived. I hope you have not met with any misfortune.

     At the same time, if your tardiness is on purpose, I must point out to you that this is a serious breach of contract. The calendar clearly states that today is the first day of spring. You have an obligation. I do not mind that you visited already for a few days in January and in February; I have had my hopes set on your arrival for your three-month sojourn for so long. I have anticipated and prepared. Do not let me down!

     Of course, perhaps you have been put off in recent years by my blossoming friendship with autumn. Let me reassure you that nobody will ever replace you in my heart.

     Please come soon!

                                                                                   With warmest wishes,


Monday, March 5, 2018

Little Boy

My little 4-year-old is so cute sometimes that he makes my heart melt. Sure, he still thinks he's the boss; he and his sister had an argument about it just the other day. But. . .

Our memory poem for February was Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken," and little boy memorized it, too. I wish you could hear him recite those words I'm not sure he even understands: "Two roads diverged in a lellow* wood, and sorry I could not travel both. . . "

Those sorts of things make my heart do flip-flops.

Now. Last week my baby boy moved out of our room and into his own new big boy bed. The mattress came in a box, and it was a big family occasion to watch it be unpacked and expand. Kids were bouncing around so thickly in that room that a good picture with no kids in it was hard to come by.

The mattress-- all rolled up

Unrolled and mostly inflated

We let the bed air out for a night before tucking him in it for the first time. He half broke my heart and half cracked me up when he said, "Mom! I don't need you to tuck me in! I can do it myself!" We tucked him in anyways. 

Very Fun Box

He loves his new bed, but I think he's had a lot more fun with the box it came in. That box entertained the little ones for at least an entire afternoon. In addition to crawling in and out of it, they also used it as a slide. I heard lots of imagination floating around that day.

In many ways, my son is growing up, but the little boy in him still crawls in bed with us in the morning to cuddle. Thank goodness.

*I'm sure many in my family remember a time when my cousin Becky was similarly too cute for words when talking about her favorite colors-- "red and lellow."

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Thursday Things

The weather has been so warm here the last few days that the kids were outside in short-sleeves playing. Some were even begging for the air conditioner to be turned on! That didn't happen. At least it feels cooler this morning.

I've been too busy to blog much lately, so I've saved up a few random thoughts.

1.  Wonderful Wednesday. Yesterday was a lovely day. I was able to spend some time outside with the kids. Reading a good book (E. B. White's Trumpet of the Swan) aloud to your children in the woods with sunshine on your arms does wonders for a body.

I also saw pretty things outside which cheered me up. All of these added a touch of color to our brown "winter" world.

Bluebird house

Tulips popping up

My yellow crocuses! (Or is that croci?)
And if all that pretty was not enough, later in the day after a quick shower, God gifted us with this rainbow.

2.  Child Development.  The baby is at that funny/cute stage where she likes to "hide" by sitting in plain view and covering her eyes. We crack up every time it happens, and that is several times a day. If she can't see us, we can't see her! (Note: I fully recognize that my "baby" is actually a toddler, but she is still the baby.)

3.  Bookish Podcast. My high school BFF recently joined together with some of her co-workers to created a podcast about books they read. It is called Unabridged, and you can find it here. In their words:

Unabridged - Four Teachers Take on Books is a podcast that comes from the desire to share a love of reading, cultivate a reading community, and invite students to become lifelong readers. 

I have listened to a couple of the episodes, and I wish I had more time to read. I also love hearing more of Jen's voice since we don't get to talk often. I am making a prediction that she will never not love a book they review. If you listen, you will learn that she is a real book lover.

4.  Another Place to Shop.  Recently a new family has been coming from afar to our little church-- and they have children! That's always exciting for a small church, you know. Anyway, their three older girls are crafty and have started a business. It is called KovalKreations and can be found here or on Etsy.  Right now they have some beautiful girls' clothing and baskets. I am in awe of their skills.

5. Vintage. And speaking of Etsy, after a long Christmas break so we could arrange things in our updated home, we jumped right back into Sideling View Crafts. I finally sold one pattern in January! And because we have developed an auction habit, I started listing some vintage items.

I'm still listing things because I have quite an accumulation of stuff and not an accumulation of time. Below is a cute vintage children's book I listed this week.

And that's all for Thursday because my family needs to eat breakfast!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Winter, Inside and Out

Last week we had ice. I tried to capture how the sun shining on the ice on Sideling Hill made everything look like a fairy world, but I couldn't. I'll show you the results anyway.

Meanwhile, inside we dealt in cold things, too. For my kindergartner, we are studying one picture book each week. We read the book aloud each day, and do some activity that connects to it. Last week was Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, illustrated by Susan Jeffers.

One day we focused on the "and downy flake" page. We talked about snow and how each snowflake is different and has six sides.

On this day we did our "fun" activity for the week; we made tortilla snowflakes.

First we folded flour tortillas in half and then in thirds (to make a pie slice shape). We cut shapes in the sides, unfolded them, and baked them in the oven at 350℉  until they were crispy (not burned). Next they were brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with powdered sugar. This was a fun and tasty activity I plan on repeating with the younger two children!

I'm not sure we'll enjoy more winter around here, and most of us are still holding out for a big snow. But at least we found a way to enjoy the little bit of white stuff that we had.

**This book was a lovely book. The children learn a classic poem, and the delightful illustrations add another layer to the poem. I highly recommend it. It is also an easy one for memorizing.