Monday, March 29, 2010

So What If Its 30 Degrees


Lauren has declared it summer! 

This is how she came out of her room dressed this morning. An ear of corn definitely goes with the outfit, don’t you think?  The sun is shining and its been cold long enough, so why not break out the summer attire! DSC_0117

When the Isaac saw I had the camera out he asked me to take his picture, which I did, but then Jacob decided he wanted to have his picture taken too.  I tried to get them to smile and this is what I got.  Cracks me UP!  Isaac looks so thrilled to have his brother sitting on his lap and Jacob is just pure clown!


Back to the discussion of warmer weather…I’m in agreement with Lauren!  It’s gotta get warm soon.  My seedlings are doing good! They are growing and stretching out to the sun. All that green has got me itching to be out in the garden.

As soon as the garden dries out, Joel will disk in the composted rabbit manure he put on it and then till the ground with the rototiller.  I praying for some dry days!  Hopefully by mid-April I will be able to put in my cold crops…lettuce, spinach, radishes, turnips, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.

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Last fall, I brought in my Geraniums and Begonias.  I placed them in my basement. They like the southern exposure and right now they, too, are telling me warmer weather is on its way.

Aren’t they beautiful?!


Come on spring, warm up!  This girl can’t wait much longer!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Why I’m A Cat Person



Meet Ellie.

Dog.  Crazy dog.

Cute, but insane.

A dog who chews drywall and rugs, dressers and treasured wooden benches.  A dog who eats glass Christmas balls and light bulbs (which was up on top of a dresser) and lives to do more damage.  Some would say she is just bored and that we need to spend more time with her.  We tried. Really we did.  And she continued to destroy.  She devoured huge sections of drywall off our mudroom walls and chewed up the trim mercilessly. So now Ellie resides outside in a well insulated dog house, where she can wreak havoc to her hearts content.  When we are outside, which is almost every day, she is allowed off her chain to run and play. 

We would love to pet her and love on her,  but she is too busy. 

She’s got things to do.  Like digging, chasing, running, and weed wacking (she literally chews off small trees in the brushy area behind our house).  Her favorite toys, rocks.  Oh yes, and it isn’t any old rock she chooses.  It must be field stone of some size. If you try to get near her when she has one of her rocks, she picks it up and runs away.

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And when she loses one, she just digs for another.  Above is an example.  She has dug a nice trench along her run, in her never ending search for rocks.  A small child could get lost in some of the holes she digs. 

Meet Mack.

100_7981 He purrs. He’s soft. He’s fluffy.  And most importantly he sleeps…a lot!  He doesn’t eat anything he shouldn’t.  He doesn’t destroy furniture or walls.  His biggest fault, he thinks he must have a drink of water every time he catches me in the bathroom. Weird, I know! He’s mostly independent, except for around 9:00 PM, when I climb into bed to do some reading, he joins me.  He walks his furry little self up the bed and situates himself on my chest.  He purrs!  I love a purring kitty.  Talk about being content.  As I read I pet his head. After about 10 minutes he slowly gets up and settles himself at the foot of the bed, all that attention requires another nap.

I rest my case.  I am not a dog person. I just don’t have the patience for it.

In a contest between cat and dog, the cat wins hands down. Goodness, the Lord blessed me with three boys in my house.  I definitely don’t need another rambunctious body bouncing off the walls, leaving foul smells, and messing up my house!

What is your preference?  Are you a dog person or a cat person?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Choose Love

“There’s no way I’m ever going to write about that!”  

Those were my exact thoughts when I first looked through the writing topics for At The Well.  My eyes had fallen on the heading of “To Have and To Hold”.  For those who chose to write for this category the focus would be on marriage, Biblical submission, practical advice; in essence loving our husbands. I had made up my mind that I would never be able to provide wisdom on the subject of marriage, let alone anything practical or remotely competent. So, I chose to contribute to a subject a bit more in my comfort zone.  Writing on marriage would have to be somebody else’s project! 

*To read the rest of my most recent article come visit me AT THE WELL.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Scrubbing My Heart

Stubborn stains stick to the basin, scouring powder plasters every inch of the surface.  I scrub and scrub.  Putting all my strength into getting out spots that insist on remaining.  Going over and over the stains that seep deep down.  My arms ache. My back protests. Some stains yield.  Some resist.

I am like that sink.  And God is my scouring pad. I’m stained and spotted. God is scrubbing. Showing me spots and stains. I’m yielding. I’m refusing. Sin seeps in, roots deep.  I’m raw with recognition of the sin in my life.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. (19) For what I do is not the good I want to do; no the evil that I do not want to do, this I keep on doing.  Romans 7:15,19

Paul says it well.  I don’t want to sin, yet I continue to do the very thing which distances me from God.  Scrub, scrub, scrub.  Sin is chafing.  When I open my heart to the Lord he opens my eyes to the distance I have created between us.  He begins to cleanse me, to purify me.  Sometimes all that scrubbing leaves me sore.

Thankfully God has provided us with a special cleansing agent.  A cleansing agent that abounds in love and mercy. The blood of Jesus Christ.

To the Lord our God [belong] mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. Daniel 9:9

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace  Ephesians 1:7

Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Acts 13:38

The narrow way is never easy to follow.  God told us it wouldn’t be.  With God at the lead I must forge ahead, even when it is painful.  Even more so when it is painful.  If I turn away from my Lord just because he is opening up raw wounds with his scrubbing, I will never know the fullness of His love.  I will never experience the full extent of joy that Jesus can provide.  I will never feel the soothing balm of his forgiveness, mercy, and grace.

Jesus died for me.  He paid the price of my sins, so that I may know His cleansing forgiveness.  Jesus takes away the pain of sin if I ask for forgiveness.  Even sin that I may repeat over and over again. He purifies me. He creates in me a new heart. He loves me with an everlasting love. Yes, a sinner like me has found redemption. 

I pray that you, too, may know the price that Jesus paid for your sins.  Open your heart to him.  Acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior.  Place your soul in His hands.  Live for Him so that you may feel release from the weight of your sins.  Ask for forgiveness and be filled with joy only Jesus can supply.

Take a moment and lift your heart up to His today.  You will immediately know that…

Forgiveness cleanses!


Friday, March 19, 2010

My Table


Dearest Table,

There have been times when I have wished to replace you.  I even went so far as to look for a new one in one of my weaker moments.  I thought how wonderful it would be to have a table that didn’t creak and moan like an old woman’s back. I wondered what it would be like to have a table with a smooth unmarred surface.  I delighted in the thought of having a table with matching chairs. But as I began to look around at the new and shiny tables, my eyes where opened to the treasure I had sitting in my dining room.

You, dear table, are full of memories.  Your top was secured by my children’s grandfather. I have no idea where your legs came from, but they were attached and fit just fine. They even look like they were made to match. My children’s father, grandparent’s and Aunt’s sat around you for many meals. And remnant’s of homework done are carved into your surface.

Now you belong to us. You are well loved and well used.  Every meal of every day is eaten upon your sturdy surface.  Many conversations have been started and finished in your presence. You are a central part in our school days. Hours upon hours of school work has been done and is being done in the school books for which you provide a resting place. Your surface bears the marks of a myriad pencil marks and punctures. Many a craft project, complete with glue, markers and paint have stained your surface temporarily. But creativity has been born there.

You see, you aren’t so fancy and pristine that you can’t be used for all the projects and duties this family has to do.  If you get scratched or dinged, oh well. It is one more mark to add to your character. If I had foolishly insisted on a brand new table, it is likely I would have bemoaned the scratches that would have inevitably marred an expensive table.  But, with you I am free to live and let my children be children.

Memories.  That’s what you invoke.  Each mark. Each stain. These bring forth those “remember when” stories and bind this family even closer together.  Even though you bear many imperfections, you hold immeasurable beauty to this family.

So, thank you for your imperfections.  They make you unique and they make you ours.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sun Catcher


100_7969A few weeks ago I broke out the coffee filters and markers. I had initially thought of it as a project for my daughter, since she is ALWAYS begging to do art. But, before I new what was happening a swarm of boys descended on the dining room.  Everyone was clamoring for a coffee filter and some markers.  Thankfully after 8 years of homeschooling there are no shortages of markers in this home!

For the past 2 weeks our amazing disks of color have sat on the school room table waiting for inspiration. 

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Finally, it came to me…Sun Catchers. This was a perfect craft for all ages. My 13-year-old son, right down to my 3-year-old daughter enjoyed it.

Here is a list of materials needed:

White coffee filters



Eye dropper or spoons

Colored computer paper


exacto knife

hole punch

Step 1:  Have your children color their coffee filters. 



Step 2: Once they have filled their coffee filter with color place it on a cookie sheet and let them wet it down.  We used an eye dropper but you could use a spoon.  Get the whole filter wet. Just damp is fine, there is no need to soak it! Watch those toddlers, they love water! :)


Step 3: Let the filter dry.


Step 4: Let your child choose two pieces of colored computer paper.  Lay one on top of the other.  Place a dry coffee filter on top of the paper and trace a circle that is about 1/4 of an inch bigger than the filter onto the top piece of paper.  Now you can draw your design.  I did my daughters free hand, but the boys decided to use stencils. Make sure to keep your design away from the edge of the circle about 1/4-1/2 inch.

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Step 5: Using an exacto knife cut out your design, making sure to cut through both sheets of paper. ***Make sure you do the cutting on a cutting board. I found that the cutting part was a bit difficult for my younger boys. I ended up doing most of it, but they were still really pleased with this project.


Step 6: Holding tightly to the papers, cut out your circle.

Step 7:  Using a glue stick, smear the inside of one of the paper circles with glue. Lay down you coffee filter.  Glue the inside of your other paper circle and place on top. I found that if I took this over to the window and held it up against the glass I could see to line up the top circle with the bottom circle.

Step 8: Punch a hole in the top. Run string through and then tape up to the window.



And with all those leftover, color-saturated, coffee filters you can make your daughter a fairy-princess-flower-wand.  She will be delighted.  See…



Well, maybe if she gets to say “Monkey” while you take the picture it will help!


Craft on!

Monday, March 15, 2010

This Ones For The Girls


This past weekend was our annual Girl’s Weekend.  All my sisters and my mom get together for a weekend of laughter, hugs, crafting, talking, singing, and eating (lots of eating!).

We had such a wonderful time together.  It is a special time of girl talk and I wish we could do it more than once a year.  Never do I laugh as much or as hard as I do as when I am with my sisters!  They each have such a dry wit, especially my oldest sister and youngest sister who had us cracking up the majority of the time with their one liners!


This year was extra special because we were able to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday and Shelly’s 40th birthday.  There were gifts, cards, humor and CAKE!

100_7954This cake was SO scrumptious! It is a recipe that I have wanted to try for over year. I wanted to make this cake so much that the magazine that featured the recipe has been sitting behind my recipe box for a year, waiting for our girl’s get together. It was well worth the wait. Every bite was divine!

We did allow two boys to attend the party.

100_7950My dad (since it was house where we held the party) and Aidan, my nephew, Heidi’s son.  Of course Aidan didn’t seem to mind being surrounded by a bunch of women. He rewarded us with giggles and smiles. And we rewarded him with hugs and kisses!  My dad would never mind having all his girl’s around, even for him it was a special time (and we fed him REALLY well!).

After a weekend of staying up late to scrapbook and chat, losing an hour of sleep due to daylight savings time and sitting up half the night with Lauren last night because she was croupy, I’m in need of some sleep.  My mind is in a fog, just a wee bit today. But, I wouldn’t have traded that weekend in for anything! It was just what I needed.


Oh, and Reese, sorry I didn’t get a better picture of you.  But, you know, you were on a mission to get that scrapbook done! :) Great job, by the way!

Friday, March 12, 2010



There are benefits to being Momma’s helper. 

Oh, yes, there are!

And it hasn’t gotten past Sissy one little bit.


Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

When it gets warm…

We have been blessed with 50 degree temps. the past few days! It seems to bring on a spike of internal temperatures within my children. My boys want to run around outside with just T-shirts on! I insist on at least a long sleeve shirt! They bemoan this saying they are roasting and sweating.  But, being the ogre I am, I don’t back down!

I remember when I was a little girl and we would have our first warm days after a long winter. My sisters and I would always beg to get out our shorts! It didn’t matter that there were patches of snow on the ground and the air still had a slight chill to it. By golly, the sun was shining and it was above 30 degrees, that in it self called for a celebration! I remember begging my mom to let me put on a pair of shorts, telling her the exact same things my boys tell me.  And I remember, my mom holding out and telling us when it got up to 60 degrees we could wear our shorts! Now a days, I wouldn’t dare put shorts on when it was only 60.  I would most surely freeze my legs off!

There’s something about being young that just raises your internal temperature a notch or two when spring is coming.  I just don’t have that ability anymore!

Yesterday, after lunch, the boys and Sis went out to play. About 5 minutes later my oldest son came rushing back in to tell me I really needed to get outside, because it was SO warm. I quickly finished up my lunch and grabbed my camera, because I could see interesting things happening outside my window.

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Make shift tents had been erected and games were afoot. I’m pretty sure an exciting hunting expedition was taking place in these photos. Later the game turned into a re-enactment of the Civil War.

It was beautiful outside (although I opted for a long sleeve shirt and a sweatshirt, which my boys just couldn’t understand!).  I gathered up some laundry and rejoiced because I was able to hang my first load of laundry on the line for the year!


I don’t know if I’ve ever hung out laundry when there was still snow on the ground, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity!


The afternoon quickly came to an end, but not before the boys could get in some high action swinging! 

Today promises to be just as beautiful. I’ll be hanging out more laundry and listening as the Blue Herons, Sand Hill Cranes and Red Wing Blackbirds sing their praises of spring, their glorious songs intertwining with the giggles and shouts of my children as they soak up the sun.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Recently, in this post, I talked about how I was going to intentionally reduce the amount of time I spent blogging.  Jamie from Six Bricks High asked me if I wouldn’t mind sharing the ways in which I plan to limit my time spent on the computer.
One of the biggest ways I have cut my computer time is to make the weekends computer free with the exception of when I need to post a book review(which I write up during the week but then publish on Saturdays).  I had found that I was wasting my Saturdays and Sunday afternoons reading blogs and not just the blogs I regularly visit!  I was finding all sorts of great blogs out there, but in the process I was letting it consume all of my time.
Another way that I have reduced the amount of time spent on the computer is by staying off the internet in the mornings.  I allow myself to publish any new comments on my posts and to check my Email, but nothing more.  Last week I bent my own rules and allowed myself to read a blog post or two from some of my favorites in the morning, but it just led to me wanting to read one more, just one more(yeah, right!). So, this week I am sticking to the boundaries that I have set for my morning. 
The sad part is that I was beginning to neglect the teaching I needed to do with my younger two boys.  Both need me to guide them through their morning work.  Both need help with reading certain portions.  Both need help with their math, at times.
They need me and I need to be right there with them!
It is hard to admit, but I was really letting them down.  They would ask for help and I would say, “just let me finish reading this” or “hold on I am leaving this lady a comment”.  Now I park my rear at the table with them!  I am focusing on them and their needs as their teacher and momma, instead of getting sucked into blog world.  I love teaching. I always have and this week I am going to renew that joy.
So, here are my boundaries in list form:
  • No blogging in the morning
  • No blogging on weekends
  • No blogging in the evenings
  • Blogging for one hour during lunch break
  • Blogging for one hour in the afternoons after school is finished (Two hours a day sounds like a lot, but since I have dial-up I do house work while I’m waiting for pages to load, so I’m not spending a total of 2 hours on the computer.)
This is the plan anyway! We’ll see if it works! I may have to tweak things a little, but I plan on sticking to this as closely as possible. I’m not sure, yet, if these restrictions will apply to my writing. I do use some of this time for writing, but  as of right now, I'm not ready to drastically limit my writing.  I usually have the computer on with my Windows Live Writer page minimized in the tray, that way if a good thought pops into my head I can write it down and hopefully turn it into a post at a later date.  It is sort of like my notebook or ideas!
What are some of the ways that you limit your blogging time?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chasing Francis~ Book Review



Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron, book provided by Navpress


Chase Falcon has lost his faith and did it right in front of the congregation at his mega church.  Now the elders want him to take some time away: far away. So Chase crosses the Atlantic to visit his uncle, a Franciscan priest, where he encounters the teachings of Francis of Assisi and rediscovers his ancient faith. (publishers summary)

The writing style of Ian Cron pulls you into the story of Chase Falcon, a pastor of a mega church who loses his faith in God.  Chase’s uncle, a Franciscan priest, takes him on a pilgrimage to the very places where Francis of Assisi had lived a life of poverty, selflessness and devotion to Christ.

“Francis was everything medieval preachers weren’t, … For starters, he was authentic. He spoke about the only thing he knew, his own life.  He’d say, ‘Here’s how Jesus met me in my sinfulness and how he can meet you in yours.’  It was an autobiography, not a lecture.”

“In the Middle Ages, most preaching was pretty manipulative.  It was all about the treat of damnation, hell, and judgement.  That’s how the church kept people in line and protected its power base.  Clerics wanted people to believe  the church held the keys to heaven, and that there was no hope of being saved without the church’s help.  Francis wanted no part of that.  He was always courteous and respectful and spoke endlessly about the mercy and kindness of God, a God who was willing to enter human history and rescue us, a God who was intimate, not distant and aloof. His message really was ‘good news’ to people who were taught there were six degrees of separation between God and their wretched live.”  (pg 148)

While some things in this book were a bit foreign to me because I don’t know a lot about the Catholic faith, I found this book easy and enjoyable to read.  The book itself is not about the Catholic faith, per say, but about the life of Francis, who gave all he had to give to those around him. Chasing Francis gives you insight into a historical figure of the Middle Ages while weaving a modern day story of the modern church and its struggles throughout its entirety.  You follow along Chase as he rediscovers his love for Christ and reclaims his desire to lead a church that gives their all to the Lord.

A few of the stories about Francis did seem a bit far fetched and I am not able to say I agree with all that was within this book, but overall, I would say it is a fascinating book.  If you enjoy reading and learning about historical figures, I would definitely recommend this as a book to give you insight into the life and teachings of St. Francis of Assisi.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Newspaper Seed Starting Pots

I have had several ladies ask about the newspaper pots that I made the other day, so I thought I would write up a tutorial on how to make these.  They are very simple and go together quickly. 

Here is a list of the items you will need to gather together:

Newspaper~ black and white only

Aluminum can~ I used a soup can (10 3/4oz) and a tomato paste can (6oz). You could use a larger size if you desired a larger pot.

Plate with water

Yard stick, scissors and pen~ only if you use the cutting method described below.


Step 1:

Start with a stack of newspaper.  Mark out 5 inch widths on the paper, using the yard stick.  Cut on the lines and discard the 1 inch strips. Your strips should measure about 5x20 inches.


Step 2:

Layer two strips of paper one on top of the other.


Step 3:

Begin rolling the newspaper around the can. I used the lines on the can as my guide, since I didn’t want my pots to be too deep.


Step 4:

Roll tightly all the way to the end.


Step 5:

Place the can seam side down in the plate of water.  This will help seal the paper and hold it in place.

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Step 6:

Fold in the ends of the paper to make the bottom of your pot. Do this step carefully around the wet areas of the paper or it will tear.

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Step 7:

Set the can bottom side down into the water and let it set for several seconds to soak up a fair amount of water.  Remove it from the plate and flip it over.  Press down on the paper to seal if necessary.

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Step 8:

Remove the paper from the can and press down any flaps of paper sticking up on the inside of the newspaper pot.

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Step 9:

Finally, roll the outside of the pot in the plate of water so that it is wet all the way around. I even wet the inside of the pot with my fingers to help hold all the layers together. I don’t know as this is necessary, but I think it helps.


The end product:




****Now here is an alternate way to do this that eliminates the cutting:

Take a single piece of newspaper, fold it in half and then follow steps 3-9

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I personally didn’t like to do it this way.  I found it was too bulky at the end for my liking. But if you started the paper farther up on the can to make a taller pot you probably wouldn’t have this problem.


Here are the different pots I made.  The one on the left shows the method of folding the paper.  I had to cut off a portion of the bottom because it was too thick.  The one in the middle shows the pots I make using 5x20 inch strips. The pot on the right are pots I make using 4 inch strips of paper and a 6oz tomato paste can.  I will probably use these smaller pots to start my flowers and herbs and the larger 5 inch pots for tomatoes, green peppers, broccoli and cabbage.

Any Questions?!

Monday, March 1, 2010


It is officially March, the sun is shining, and I am officially ready to smell spring!

How about you?

I know that true spring weather is a ways off for those of us who live in the north, but there will be warmer days, longer days, days with the hint of spring and promises of green. I am ready and so are the birds!  Yesterday there were a few more twitterings in the fresh morning air.

For the past month I have been reminding myself to look for the beautiful in February.  The end of winter can drag on and at times I was letting it take me with it.

Until I remembered to look for God’s glory in the scene outside my windows.



And inside my windows.

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There will be more snow days this month, I know, and then the season of MUD, but my heart is a measure lighter because I can prepare for the time of growing.


I received my first order of seeds this weekend! I started making some newspaper starting pots and I will plant some of my seeds as soon as I can get the soil. I am really excited, because this year I am going to convert a small section of my flower bed into an herb garden.  My plan is to collect and dry my own herbs.  I’m not sure how it will go, but I enjoy trying new things in my gardens!


Hope your Monday is bright and shining where your are!


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