Saturday, February 28, 2009

Looking for Spring

This time of year is challenging for me. I struggle with the blah's. I find myself leaning toward the whiny side of life - not a becoming state to be in!!!

After snow earlier this week and a sky thickening with heavy clouds due to an oncoming rainstorm today the blah's have been hitting hard.

So in an effort to ward off the whinies I bundled up Esther and went out in search of Spring and look what I found!!!:

A cute little Tete d' Tete Daffodil about to open
My dear Betty Corning Clematis breaking through and beginning her climb up my front porch
My Bluebells sending up their tender leaves out by my bedroom window
My spade forgotten in my veggie garden. He will be put to much use before too long!!!
I don't have much out there right now as last fall I pulled out my perennial beds to start over in the Spring. Weeds had just had their nasty way with my beds and I decided a fresh new start was needed. Getting out and exploring today has gotten my mind in gear and my fingers itching to get in the dirt. NOW I can get out my seed catalogs and begin the fun of garden dreaming!!
Isaiah 61:11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Not Spring Yet!!

Look what we woke up to this morning! The daffodils are ready and now it's dumping snow!! You gotta love the Pacific Northwest!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Daybook Time

FOR TODAY February 23, 2009...

Outside my window... Sunshine on the raindrops leftover from last night's heavy rain. Very pretty. The weather has been so Spring-like the last few days - I'm starting to think it really has arrived!!!

I am thinking...Esther may be cutting some teeth. She's slept well only one night the last week. I'm getting pretty tired (and a bit cranky - I must confess).

I am thankful husband's job. It's been really demanding lately. I have tended to want to complain when his job gets like that because it takes him away from us so much even when he's here (so much of his mind is still there). But now I'm grateful because God gave him this job and it's supplied our needs for so long. The job also gives my husband the challenges he thrives on. So I'm thankful for God's provision through Wayne's job.

From the learning rooms...Getting started again after mid-winter break. We'll be catching up on our time-lines and writing a newspaper about the Westward movement. We got a new math game we're going to play this week.

From the kitchen...Pinto beans are simmering on the stove to make refried beans. I'm putting together a couple of enchilada casseroles. One for dinner and one for the freezer.

I am wearing...a pink and white top and grey skirt - my second favorite slippers - I can't find my favs.

I am creating...Still working on that doily - I finished my kitchen curtains - they turned out pretty cute.

I am going...To tidy my room so I can find my favorite slippers and so I can really relax when I go to bed and read tonight.

I am reading...The same mystery book as I was last week. It's really silly. I'm also reading II Corinthians.

I am hoping...My hubby's back doesn't hurt him to much today. He has a back that gives him pain much of the time and it's been really bothering him the last few days. I am also hoping he'll seek some help for it. I just hate seeing him so uncomfortable.

I am hearing...the kids playing in the living room before we start school.

Around the house...Tidying up. After my week of working on the kitchen the rest of the house got somewhat neglected - time to catch back up.

One of my favorite things...A good night of sleep. Can you tell I'm craving a couple of good nights of sleep (in a row!!) Another favorite thing is a good cup of coffee on those slow moving mornings!! :0) (I do drink decaf in case it affects the baby - but it still tastes so good on those mornings)

A few plans for the rest of the week: Just a regular week - back to the regular chaos that is always happening - instead of the different kind that happens on school breaks :0)

Here is picture thought I am sharing... This is to remind me to be a light to the world today - God wants me to be that everyday to my children and others around me - so I'm praying that He will give me the grace and energy to be that for Him today.

For more Simple Woman Daybook entries you can go to:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Project Kitchen - Day 3

So today the kids thought Mommy went crazy!! After all, I'm the one who is always saying when I walk into the kitchen, "Hey, who took that out? Are you done with it? Put it away!!" or "Hey people, don't leave stuff out - I just cleaned up the kitchen!" or other things along that line.

Today I said, "Hey kids, lets take everything out of the pantry and put it on the table"
Them - "Are you sure Mommy? Aren't you getting the kitchen clean?" "Everything??"
Me - "Everything!!" "It'll be fun!!"

And it was! It took them a bit to get started. I'm sure they were waiting for the "who took that out" lecture but when they realized this was for real they went to it!!

And my pantry went from this (I'm ashamed to say):
To this:
Mr. Coffee, Kitchen Aid and Miss Blender all got major cleanings as well and look much better for it. In fact my daughter came and said they looked brand new - which is nice since all three appliances get used all the time.
So even though I'm not where I want to be yet (I have a few cupboards yet to clean) tomorrow I'm going ahead with the fun stuff (sewing for my kitchen, hanging up my plates and other touches that make it nice). I must get the kitchen back in working order and catch up with the rest of the housework this weekend. Mid-winter break is coming to an end. (Plus, if my family has to eat spaghetti one more night for dinner they might do something drastic!!)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Project Kitchen - Day 2

Today - Day 2 of my Kitchen Project:

Another cupboard purged, scrubbed and organized:
The junk drawer that had way more than it's share of stuff now is nearly empty:
The drawer that the junk overflowed into now is doing just it's job: A drawer now freed up to hold baking utensils
After all that work we took off to the park for a while - such a nice day I couldn't spent it all indoors!!

Esther experiences grass for the first time!!:
Some time on the toys and a rousing game of hopscotch:
A few laps around the track and more time on the toys:

I came home refreshed and ready to do some more work
So I'm getting there - it's going slower than I planned but it's okay. If I don't finish when I hoped I have plenty of weekends to do the last couple of things.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Project Kitchen - Day 1

Okay, so today was the beginning of Project Kitchen - the major cleaning and reorganization of my kitchen.
Getting started: Coffee, Notebook, and my beloved List:
A sweet smelling candle for encouragement:

Empty cupboard, purge the stuff I never use, scrub it down:Cutting new shelf paper:
Ta Dum - clean new cupboard!!
Messy drawer:
Clean drawer:
This week my goal is a big cleaning project. But it's really more than cleaning. It's really about loving my family. It's giving them not just a tidy house but a home. A home that's clutter free, fun to work and play in and a place of peace - not stress. I know that in a family of our size it's not always possible to be organized and uncluttered but a real purging now and then and a good deep clean is a very positive thing. Later this week I'm quite likely to get tired and overwhelmed as this job goes on - I need to remember that it's not about getting my kitchen clean and completing a job - it's about loving my family.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Simple Woman Daybook

FOR TODAY...Monday February 16, 2009
Outside my window...Darkness as I am getting this done later than usual, although today was a beautiful sunny day - very nippy but lovely all the same.

I am thinking...about my Mom. I visited with her today on the phone. What a fun chat we had.

I am thankful for...telephones so that we can stay in touch with those we love. I often think about the families who left their loved ones and traveled West in covered wagons - how difficult to say goodbye knowing that staying in touch was practically impossible. While I am drawn to that lifestyle I'm thankful for the advantages of technology!!!

From the learning rooms...We are on Mid-Winter break. All school activities, mid-week church activities and co-op activities are cancelled for the week. Yahoo - time to do a few household projects.
From the kitchen...crockpot meals this week so I can do my kitchen projects
I am and grey rugby shirt and denim skirt, slippers and a baby snuggled up against me

I am creating...still working on my thread doily for the nursery lady at church. I didn't get much done last week. I'm also going to sew a new kitchen curtain this week.
I am be cleaning my kitchen from top to bottom this week. Cleaning out cupboards, laying new shelf paper, scrubbing down cupboard doors and rearranging drawers. I'm going to wash knicknacks, and sew new valances and put up a new little curtain under my sink. It's the first task in my Spring cleaning plan. Since the kitchen is such a big project I'm giving myself the whole mid-winter break to do it. Spring break will probably be the rest of the house.
I am reading...a little book from the library a knitting mystery book - kinda silly but fun
I am hoping...Esther will be happy playing with her sisters and brothers lots this week so I can get lots done.

I am hearing...the kids saying their prayers with Daddy and giggling while he tucks them in - such sweet sounds

Around the house...tidied up today so I can hit the kitchen running in the morning
One of my favorite things...lists and the little "done" check marks next to them :0)
A few plans for the rest of the week: you already read that part :0)
Here is a picture thought I am sharing...Some of my kitchen pretties (part of my depression glass collection) I will be shining up this week - I love it when my pretties are all sparkly clean.

For more Simple Woman Daybook entries you can go to:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Aftermath

We had a marvelous Valentine's feast of cheese and sausage and pineapple pizza and a fun time with the little I Love You gifts!!

But for some reason Jacob became convinced that it was his birthday and he turned four!! I don't quite know how this happened but it took a great deal of persuading to make him realize he's still three and his birthday is coming in the spring. It didn't help that the big guys caught wind of this and wished him Happy Birthday. Ha Ha So Funny - guys!!! This morning he told me he's still three (thankfully :0)!!!!
All hopped up on way too much Valentine's candy and excitement Abbie decided to run full tilt into the corner wall in the hallway!!! Ouchie!!!
A Spoonful of Chocolate Chip Mint ice cream was her reward for letting Daddy put a bag of frozen cranberries on it and letting me take a picture of her owie!! We were a little late for our church function due to this little head trauma. But after recovering everyone agreed that Valentine's was a fun day.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


We are having our annual Candlelight Dinner complete with lovely flowers (Thank you sweet Husband) and romantic music.

Since getting alone is near impossible in a house filled to the top we share our romantic meal with all the kiddos. Everyone gets a simple I Love You gift from Mom and Dad and everyone who has been busily creating Valentines all week puts them on the plates.

Steak and lobster is something that just isn't appreciated by younger taste buds so we have a lovely romantic meal of pizza - Yum!! The meal is finished with decadent pink cupcakes - oh, the romance!!

All day my sweetie has been singing me sweet songs and telling me he loves me - he even left me a surprise note here on my blog for the first time (you will have to look in a previous post if you want to see it - he made me hunt for it) Then I received those glorious flowers in the mail!!! He is such a romantic!! I am going to read him a beautiful poem tonight - straight from the Bible - you can figure out which one!!

May you have a wonderful love filled day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


The girlish facination with super cute shoes starts at a very young age!!! (They are really sweet - along with the cutie wearing them!! :0)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday Morning

We woke up to this today - cold and shivery - but pretty all the same:So we did school like this today - warm and cozy!! So very nice a fire is!! Warms your back and toasts your toes!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday Morning

FOR TODAY February 9, 2009...

Outside my window...Snow on all the branches and on the ground - the sun coming out - what a surprise to wake up to!! I had no idea snow was in the forecast!!

I am thinking...about my husband's new position at his full time job - glad for the opportunity for him and praying for him while he's learning the in's and out's

I am thankful healthy family!!!

From the learning rooms...a unit on the Erie Canal and finishing our amphibians

From the kitchen...chicken and homemade noodles and of course - yogurt for the week. I'm writing down the menu for the week after this :0)

I am soft gray skirt and a fun new pink top with a zipper that I got from the thrift store on Saturday!! I'm so happy with it - it's really warm and cozy!!

I am creating...a white thread doily to give to the nursery lady at church - and some Bible verses with some scrapbooking paper for our walls for the kids (and me) to memorize

I am make a list of things I want to accomplish next week during mid-winter break. I am wanting to really purge and clean my kitchen and basically doing a (early) Spring clean on it

I am reading...Anne of Green Gables (again) and another library book (a Christmas one by Thomas Kincaid - pretty good book)

I am eye gets better quick - I got something in it yesterday and irritated the bejeebers out of it!! It's still sore this morning and I really want to just rub it badly but I know it will bug me more if I do (plus give me even more wrinkles :0)

I am quietly studying - the furnace running - it's cold

Around the house...Tidying up from a day of rest yesterday - Monday's are just that way - the house just gets messy on Sunday - but I do enjoy the day of rest with no guilt!!

One of my favorite things...Lady Londonderry and Cream Earl Grey tea!! The tea shop near my house closed but much to my delight I discovered it open under a new name this week so now I can buy loose leaf tea again - Ya hoo!!

A few plans for the rest of the week...I really hope to make granola this week - I haven't made it for quite a while and the kids are asking for it - stay on top of the chores this week - and get ready for our Valentine's celebration.
Here is picture thought I am sharing: I love tea and my sweet, tiny Brown Betty teapot that holds just enough tea for two :0)
For more Simple Woman Daybook entries you can go to:


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday Morning

Saturday morning for us: early the kids arise and wake us. The local big hardware store invites kids to come and build something every Saturday morning. They get an apron, a pin to put on it and something cool to make - all for free - and we like free!! So while the big kids sleep a bit longer and little ones are off building with Daddy:
I get busy with breakfast - quadruple the recipe:
And make loads of these:
Mmmm time to dig in!!
10 minutes later and just a couple left for me :0)
Happy weekend!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Six Months

Six months old and look what I can do!! I can sit like this for some time!! Then I get bored and try to get people to pay attention to me :0)!!

Can you get me out of here - please!!!!
Big brother couldn't get me out of here, can you? Pleeeaase!!!
Someone always comes to my rescue and I get carried around the way I like!! I'm also tasting food these days and I get a bit of applesauce before I go to bed. Mommy always hopes that it will help me sleep through the night - but since I'm growing so fast I still wake up hungry in the middle of the night. It's okay though cause growing is what I'm supposed to be doing :0). Mommy and Daddy have a hard time believing I'm 6 months already!! It's gone by really fast!!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I like to made things from scratch. Homemade is generally tastier and most certainly healthier and almost always less expensive. Plus it's fun!! Lately I've been making homemade yogurt. It's easy and much yummier than store bought and doesn't have a lot of things in it that I can't pronounce :0)!! I had made yogurt on and off for a couple of years in small batches just for fun - but when I recently figured out how much making it at home impacted the budget I got busy and made this a part of my regular routine. This is what I do:

I start with a gallon of milk, a bit of sugar and some vanilla (a rounded 1/4 cup of sugar and 4 tbls. and 4 teas. of vanilla). I'm sure other sweeteners can be used - this is just what I have on hand right now. I messed with the amounts until we liked it - it's just a matter of preference.
Then I scald the milk (with the sugar and vanilla added) to about 180* F. It's really until right below boiling. It takes about 20 minutes - this is when I can get help with the stirring - don't want it to stick to the pan - it's kind of a mess to clean if it does :0).
Then I let the milk cool down to about 115*F. That's pretty much just warm to the touch. This is when I add my yogurt cultures. I sometimes use yogurt that I made from last batch or I use whatever is on sale at the grocery store. (If you use yogurt made from home you can only use that a few times before you need to renew with store bought). I sometimes use vanilla flavored yogurt from the store as that's just free flavoring - but whatever I use must be on sale :0)!!
Oh yeah, I add about 3 - 4 tablespoons of yogurt per quart so that's about 12 - 16 tablespoons per gallon of milk. I stir that in with my whisk really well.
I pour the cultured, flavored milk into very clean, warm canning jars and set them carefully into my ice chest.
I surround the jars of milk with other canning jars filled with VERY warm water (I use about 6 jars half filled with hot tap water and the other half filled with hot tea kettle water) I leave everything alone for about 4 hours and then change that water for more hot stuff.
After about 8 hours it's time to take the jars out and put them in the fridge. Another thing about yogurt: it doesn't like to be disturbed so if you like thick yogurt - don't stir it - it doesn't like that - it will surely be runnier after it is disturbed.
And - Ta Dum - fresh yummy homemade yogurt. Really - all in all - it's about 20 - 30 minutes of work to get 4 quarts of this delicious stuff. I did some rough math when I started this and for where we live it's about 75 cents a quart to make at home - that saves me about 14 dollars a week on my grocery bill.
One thing though, all my yogurt making is laced with one very important ingredient. I cover it all with lots of prayer :0)!! I really don't want a gallon of milk to go to waste and since this involves the mysterious growing of bacteria to make it work I somewhat feel that a lot of yogurt making isn't really in my control. So, I just pray over it every time - it may seem strange to pray over something like this - but I believe God understands my desire to do something healthy for my family and to honor my husband's hard work by trying to reduce the bills where I can. And guess what - God answers these simple prayers of mine. A couple of times I have made mistakes in the process (like this week's batch - where I was so tired at the end of the day I forgot to put the yogurt in the fridge and jumped up this morning, like a shot, remembering) and every time my yogurt has turned out fine!!
We eat this in smoothies and for lunches or breakfasts with fruit on top. Everyone loves it and we definitely go though all four quarts in a week - I think if I made more it would get eaten up just as quick :0)!!