Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"I enjoy doing housework...

...ironing, washing, cooking, dishwashing. Whenever I get one of those questionnaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It's an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren't stupid because you're a housewife. When you're stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare."

~ Tasha Tudor

Now that the weather is warming quite a bit...we have been spending a lot more time out-of-doors! The children and I worked at tilling the garden and planting seeds the other day...

We've started red onions, white onions, broccoli, different kinds of lettuce and peppers! Below I started some marigolds. I hope they all grow well! :)

The clotheslines are getting a lot of use these days! Oh how I love line-dried clothes (even towels! I prefer a hard, scratchy, line-dried towel to a fluffy soft one! Is that strange!?)...

The children helped me....we worked at raking leaves and taking them away in the wheel barrow! We like to put them in the chicken run so the girls have a place to scratch and keep busy until the evening when we let them out to free-range a bit! :)

 “It's exciting to see things coming up again, plants that you've had twenty or thirty years. It's like seeing an old friend.” 

~Tasha Tudor

I took these photos last week...and I am happy to say that even today...things are looking greener and more cheerful than when I took these photos! :)

Above, you may notice the rhododendron on the corner of the house....it looks like a sick tree now. Last fall I trimmed it. It needed cut back...it was just too big. I started trimming and then there was a big hole....so I had to trim more to even it out....pretty soon it looked like a bonsai tree! Goodness, it looks truly silly but there isn't much I can do now except wait for it to grow again! It's one of those things I just look at and shake my head! haha!

We are still, slowly, working on our house. There is more siding that needs put up and Chris has been working on plans for a back porch (Hooray! A porch with a roof is something quite necessary for a home, I think. That way, you can place a mat out there where muddy shoes/boots can be removed and not track things into the house. We have a *mud room* but oh how we have to sweep, vacuum, and wash the floors so constantly in there. It is tedious and a back porch will be *just* the thing to help that! I am so looking forward to it!

Not having the dormers sided makes the house look pretty rough. The paint on them is chipping and peeling...but I know Chris will get to them when he can. I have truly learned patience as a wife with a fixer-upper home over these past 17 years.

Previous owners enclosed the front porch...which makes it nice to have the extra room...we used it as a school room for quite a few years...however, it is not a lovely room at all...and it would be *much* better suited to be an open porch. It is painted as well and the paint is chipping and peeling. I hate to put the money and energy into repainting it though because truly, it looks odd...to have a section of the house be sticking out painted...while the rest of the house is sided. Gutting it and making it into a normal porch (or tearing it off completely and totally redoing the front porch) takes a lot of time and money....things that aren't in abundance here. Soooo....in the meantime, I try to plant flowers, keep the yard mowed and tidy and do my best to keep things looking neat and taken-care-of.

 I tell you what....dealing with the abundance of leaves that the trees leave behind is no easy task! I wouldn't trade it though! When the leaves grow on the trees and everything is in its full glory...it is truly beautiful (I love trees!).

I have found my favorite garden flags to be ones from Toland. They don't fade and are good quality! I like to get them on amazon when they are priced well (or if I have a gift card or something)! I don't like all their designs either (I am quite picky)...but I do love the tree one (pictured above) and some other ones I have.

Our hens have really been enjoying the nicer weather! They spend a lot of time out in the sun....eating up bugs! :)

One negative thing about having chickens free range...our dog loves (and I mean *loves*) to roll in their droppings. It's really gross and always requires a bath. It's frustrating after just bathing him and off he goes to find more to roll in. Oh dear!

 Well....it's the middle of the afternoon and I only have a part of the yard mowed! I best get out there and continue mowing! Thank you for visiting! I hope your days are going well and that you are able to enjoy some of the sunshine! I hope you'll come again soon! :o)


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

"Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like"...

"It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine..."

~Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

 Spring is here and I've hardly had the chance to enjoy it as I was terribly sick from last Wednesday through this past Sunday. I felt as if I was never going to be back-to-good again. It started, as I said, Wednesday later morning, early afternoon. I had an eye appointment early in the morning and was fine and chipper. When I got home I noticed I felt a bit odd and went up for a nap instead of eating lunch. When I woke I tried to eat a bit of something...swallowed one bite and then realized I just couldn't eat anything at all. I went back up to bed.....tossing and turning and gradually feeling sicker and sicker in my stomach. I would lay down.....then feel so sick...so I would sit up and then lay back down again. There was just no comfort.

Sparing you all the yucky details...I definitely had the stomach bug of some sort (although graciously, the Lord has kept the rest of my family from getting it!). It took me *days* to eat. I drank some but was pretty dehydrated as well. I just felt so ill and my skin hurt....body aches and just all around *blah*. As you can see in my planner pages that I posted above and below...they are pretty bare. (I even had to miss our homeschoo co-op's performance night where X and Madelyn were square dancing with others! My mom video'd it for me but I still haven't gotten to watch it yet. I was so disappointed to miss it!)

Sunday afternoon/evening I started really feeling better thankfully! And as you can see below, my days are back to normal with eating and chores! (Although Monday's Bible reading didn't get done....as I was playing catch up with everything all day then hit the hay that night....I did read my Bible Tuesday...but just hadn't marked it in my daily habits yet. I try to consistently be in the Word...)

Supper last evening...

And here are just a few photos that I had previously forgotten to post (from the past two or three weeks!) and definitely want to share!

These beauties came to visit one day a few weeks ago! :o) We always love when they come to visit at Aunt TiTi's! Audra smiling for me...

Madelyn was on a cookie-making kick a couple weeks ago. She made these snickerdoodles and also chocolate chip cookies (that I see I didn't get a photo of)...

Jaxson enjoys baking as well....so my mom gave him an "easy apple dumplings" recipe and he made them one day. Everyone seemed to enjoy them (which made Jax proud)! :)

So there we have it. A "where I have been" post as well as some "catch-me-up" photos. I am just so thankful to be feeling better and getting back to the routine. The weather has been quite lovely (with some rain at times....but that's all part of spring!). I was even able to get outside and mow some yesterday! It felt really good! :o)

I hope your week has been going well. I hope you are looking forward to Resurrection Day coming up on Sunday! What a joyful celebration it will be! :o) My favorite time of the year! Thank you for visiting me here and for your patience...since I know it's been quite a while since I last posted!


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Laundry Room ~ Decor & Tips

A young mama friend of mine ~ raising many littles and doing a wonderful job of it ~ surprised me the other day with some decor she made me for my laundry room! I was *so* excited when I opened the present and saw it!!! The wood is stained and smells amazing too! :) 

She made me the laundry letters in the photo above and even included the twine and told me how to hang them up to display! (Chris helped me hang everything! He's pretty great! *grin*). She made me this sweet sign below....

...and these cute *wash*, *dry*, *fold* signs too!....

Initially, I was going to group it all together somehow...but then I found places for them to hang that I liked better! Here's another look at the laundry letters (Yes, we have a huge abundance of saved egg cartons from friends...for our chicken eggs :o)...

 Here (below) is another look at the other corner of the room...you can see my folding drying rack sitting against the wall there too. We still have trim to do around the windows and the coat closet...it'll get done eventually! :)

Below is a picture of a shelf I got at a thrift store (I think) a long time ago....I never used it. Just saved it until I found the right place. I felt that it would work perfectly in the laundry room...and I love it! I have a framed watercolor print of chickens I got from etsy a long time ago on top (I love that print!) and my clothespin dress holder hanging on one of the pegs...

A closer look at the chicken print...

Deciding where things should go and making holes in the wall can be stressful! I am so glad when Chris is here to help me! :)

And quickly, before I go ~ I wanted to just share a few quick tips that may make your laundry-life a little easier (and cheaper)!

First...I wash Chris and my clothes in one load, towels in another load and the boys' clothes together in another load (Madelyn washes her own laundry). I don't separate things into lights, darks and whites. I wash it all together and on cold. I use hot water only for towels (and my exercise clothes). This saves unnecessary sorting and time! If an item is new and I am afraid it will bleed into other clothes I will either wash it alone once or else I put in a Tide color sheet (I can't think of the actual name of them...but they soak up any color that bleeds from your clothes that would otherwise get on all your other clothes). I seldom need to use them...thus why the name escapes me. :o)

Second...I don't use dryer sheets. I use dryer balls. They don't have to be expensive...you can find them inexpensive actually in many stores. Norwex (which I posted about previously and I love) has them...but you can find them cheaper other places. I used to have three wool balls but the dog chewed two of them (which is strange since he doesn't do that to things....he must have thought they were a toy) so I only have one wool one and two plastic ones that look like hedgehogs (which I was given as a gift at Christmas time). They work wonderfully, speed your drying time and save money! Plus, you don't get all the chemicals all over your clothes either!! Win, win! :o)

Third...when it is nice out....I hang clothes out to dry! It saves money and the smell of the clothes when you bring them in is just *wonderful*!!

And finally...I encourage you to wash, dry, fold and put away clothes all in the same day. Don't leave them in the dryer.....finish it. It truly only takes a few minutes to fold a load of clothes (although small children's clothes can take a bit longer)...but just do it and get it done! It feels great to have it accomplished even if you know there will be another load to do tomorrow! (I usually do at least one load of laundry per day...this keeps it from getting overwhelming!)

So there you have it....some laundry room decor and some tips that keep my laundry routine running smoothly and as inexpensively as possible! :o) I hope you have enjoyed your visit! Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a lovely week ahead!


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Penn's Cave ~ Homeschool Field Trip

Before I start this post officially...I just have to say how flabbergasted I am that my computer/blogger still says the word "homeschool" is misspelled because it doesn't recognize it! Seriously!? It's a WORD! :o) 

OK...onto the post at hand...the boys and I, carpooling with good friends of ours, went to Penn's Cave for a fun field trip yesterday! We had to travel a bit...which was a nice time of talking with my friend! The photos are from my phone (so I didn't have to lug around my camera as well) so that's why they are sized strangely. 

Except for the references to "millions of  years" in the explanations of the rock formations (too bad it wasn't from a Creationist perspective)...it was nice! The boys really thought it was great! I had been there previously...many, many years ago on a 6th grade field trip...so I knew what to expect.

Although I couldn't get a good photo of it...we even saw bats hibernating...hanging from the ceiling of the rocks. It was pretty neat! :)

When we came out of the other side of the cave...this was what we saw...

 We had to return the way we came but it was so interesting to see things when coming the opposite direction!

A dark cave photo with Xavier...(we obviously didn't know where the lens was...haha!)...

 We had a fun time. It is a bit expensive for a little cave tour but the boys enjoyed it and we don't do a lot of field trips and stuff...so it was worth it! :) Madelyn had to work Tuesday so she couldn't go with us.

Have you been on any field trips/ vacations lately? I'd love to hear about it!!! :)
Have a great rest of the week!


Friday, March 24, 2017

"The principle of submission in marriage is...

...an acceptance of God's created order of male headship. Rebellion against this order is rejection of the biblical legacy of womanhood."

~ The Legacy of Biblical Womanood by Susan Hunt & Barbara Thompson 
(All quotes in this post will be from this book!)

We were created to be helpers. That is our design. It's not a bad design since it comes from the perfect Creator! Feminism has taken this beautiful design and beat it, smashed it and thrown it away. Now the role as helper is seen as something to be ashamed of...when a woman is a stay at home wife ~ fulfilling her role as helpmeet to her husband and managing her home ~ it is often looked down upon.

"...God's world was not complete without man and woman. The woman was not a clone of the man. God made one who was equal but different from the man. The God of glory created woman as a helper. Our redemption frees us and compels us to glorify God by fulfilling this helper design in all seasons and circumstances of life. This is our calling as redeemed women."

Girls are automatically expected to go to college after high school (with a career oriented mind-set!). Most of these girls want to get married and have a family but they find themselves in debt and in a "must work outside the home" situation after college. I am definitely not against higher education. I am against debt ~ which the Bible warns against as well (Proverbs 22:11, Romans 13:8).

"The helper proclivity of women is crushed in a culture of individualism and independence. Women are encouraged to pursue self-fulfillment and self-actualization."

I remember watching Reading Rainbow when I was younger (which I am not against that program...I had always really enjoyed it) ~ but the theme song told me I could "be anything". Thoughts swirled in my head of being an astronaut, a marine biologist, a school teacher and more. None of these are bad! However, when thinking of what "wonderful" thing I could "be" ~ "just" a mom and wife never seemed as exciting as all those other careers. My mindset was on **myself**. How I could fulfill *me*...how I could be "great". I was not set on thinking of how I was created as a helper. I wasn't having the Christ-like attitude of a servant. Thankfully, the Lord did a great work in me...opening my eyes to His truth and although I still fight that "self" monster...my heart is set in the right direction. I have a desire to glorify Him through my role as helper.

"When the Lord God breathes new life into our dead souls and makes us disciples of Jesus, our helper heart will overflow in life-giving covenantal ministries. We will be gifts to our churches. Community life will be richer. Compassion will flourish. The kingdom will be extended.....We disobeyed, and Jesus was cursed. He obeyed, and we are blessed. Such grace compels us to obey from a heart of gratitude and love."

Thankfully, as I was finishing high school, the Lord put it in my heart: all I truly wanted to be was a homemaker, wife and mother (I still didn't totally comprehend my helper role...but over the years ~ the Lord has opened my eyes to so much!). I went to college for a year since that was "what you do" after high school...but I just picked a random major because I had no particular desire to go to school for anything since my heart was *at home*.  From there, the Lord continued working in my life to put everything in order for me to fill my helper role. Chris and I got to know each other more and soon, fell in love. We were married in fall of 2000 and 10 months later, we had our daughter! :)

So, back to the reason for this post. Submission. It is a scary word to a lot of people....but it is what the Bible requires of us all (wives to husbands and husbands to Christ. All of us are to be submissive to governing authorities etc.). We find the Scriptures telling us to be submissive to our husbands in Ephesians 5:22 and 1 Peter 3:1. Submission is *not* a threat to redeemed women.

"The redeemed helper is not threatened by male headship. She values male and female distinctiveness because she knows that they are God's design and order. She knows that submission has nothing to do with status. Submission has to do with function and is a reflection of the ontological equality and yet the functional difference in the Trinity. Submission is built into the way God has ordered life in the kingdom, and it is good because He is good. Headship and submission are God's ordained order for achieving oneness in marriage and unity in the church....The redeemed helper knows that submission does not restrict her; it actually frees her to fulfill her life-giving mission." (emphasis mine)

Are you really being submissive? It is a question I have to ask myself often. Sometimes I *think* I am being submissive...but if I really am honest with myself...I realize I'm not. I have a bad habit (or should I just say "sin") of trying to convince my husband that my way is right. Submission does *not* come easily or naturally to me. I have to work at it. I always think I'm right (ok..not always...but often) . I have improved a lot through the years but still have a ways to go! I often have to humbly tuck my tail between my legs, apologize and admit that I was wrong. In some circumstances, I *am* right...however, the way I go about expressing it and fighting for my way is wrong. I often have to remind myself to be "submissive in all things". I am reminded of Eve...in the garden...who was deceived and then convinced her husband to follow suit. We know how that turned out!

Do you have a teachable, meek, quiet spirit? Humble and loving? These are things I am constantly asking myself and praying for. I strive to glorify the Lord in the way I am submissive to my husband, a helper to others and in training up my children. I fail....which makes His grace even more beautiful to me. As I continue to be sanctified by Him...I can look back in my life and see how He has been working. Sometimes I cringe at things I have done and then I praise God for His grace and lovingkindness towards me despite myself.

Submission, God's created order, a servant's heart and a helper's spirit are things that are very important to me and I am passionate about. In a culture where people are calling right wrong and evil good....I think it is important for God's people to keep things in order. God made males and females. He did not make one better than the other...He just made a system of order. He is a good God who does all things well. Women don't have to fight to be like men or to be as strong as men. We need to be women...the helpers God made us to be. :o)

A couple good reads (from trusted sources) that you might enjoy and glean much from:

23 Things I've Learned in 23 Years of Marriage ~ a post by Michelle Lesley

What does it mean for a wife to submit to her husband? ~ a post from CARM

This has been a bit of a longer post....and indeed...I need to get moving. My morning is flying by and I have much to get done! Thank you for taking the time to read and hear my thoughts on this. I'm sorry if they are a bit scattered. Sometimes organizing my thoughts is difficult (especially when I am helping with school work, answering phone calls, and more all while trying to write a post). :) I would love to hear your thoughts as well! Please share your comments and emails with me! I would most certainly love to hear them (even if you don't agree). If you don't agree...I do just ask that you talk in love and respect to me as I will to you! :)

I have just intertwined some pictures from home in this post! I hope you have enjoyed them!

A letter from the child we sponsor through Compassion. I treasure these letters! They are just too sweet...

Although super cold outside...we are enjoying some sunshine...

Thanks so much for visiting! I encourage you to be a helper to those around you. If you are married...after your relationship with the Lord...remember your husband comes first. Be submissive (even when it isn't easy) and you will honor the Lord in your behavior!

I really gotta run! This is why my posting has lessened over the years....it just takes so much time and thought to post! ;o) I hope you will bear with me! Have a great weekend friends!