Friday, October 31, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Homekeeping Help

It's getting to be that time of year again. You know, time to curl up all warm and cozy with a good book while the cold wind blows outside. I enjoy literature of many kinds, classics, mysteries, romances, thrillers and even the occasional non-fiction.

Cheryl Mendelson's Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House made my list of 40 Great Reads and I have to say that I absolutely love this book! It is the most comprehensive collection of homekeeping information I have ever seen. Martha Stewart has nothing on this woman.

A few years ago, our son's dust allergy required some fairly significant household changes. We got some good information from our allergist, but the bulk of what I learned came from this very book. There is an entire section on dust and dust mites.

When our sinks were draining slowly a couple of weeks ago, I pulled out Home Comforts and found some great tips on cleaning the drains. It was great fun, too. Any time vinegar and baking soda are involved, I get really happy. The best thing was that when I was finished there was a noticeable difference, and I now have some strategies to keep things flowing smoothly.

Every corner of our homes are explored. Cleaning all kinds of surfaces with homemade, less caustic solutions is well-covered, and laundry questions are thoroughly explained. The list of topics is exhaustive. Keeping house is regarded as an admirable pursuit, both an art and a science.

I like to read bits and pieces here and there. I'll peruse a section for a while, and when I put the book down I find myself looking around my home to see what I can immediately put into practice.

Cheryl Mendelson inspires me make my home a more comfortable, inviting place for our guests and for ourselves. There's no place like it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stick 'Em Up

Heather Bailey has an inspring blog which features many of her fabric designs and creative ideas. I made one of her headbands a while back and have enjoyed it immensely.

She has also graciously provided the pattern and instructions for this delightful little pincushion. I printed it out a couple of weeks ago with plans to crank out a couple when I had a spare minute.

Choosing coordinating fabrics, ribbon, and buttons is truly half the fun. This little project came together quickly, although the ribbon tufting can be surprisingly tricky.

This one is a gift for a sweet young lady who was not feeling up to the paintball escapade we hosted at our home yesterday. After all, if you can't run around in a field with people shooting at you all morning, working on a project with a cute pincushion is a nice alternative.

You were missed, Bethany!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

For the Record

I think that students should have a shorter school year.

Just in case anyone is taking a survey.

Tuck Me In

It's finally done, and my little buddy can sleep warm tonight under his new quilt. Now we just need a mounted deer head for the wall over the bed.

The next project will more likely be the window treatments. I'm thinking a very simple tailored valance. Any ideas?

Sleep tight, big guy. Love you.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Little Polynesia

This fabric was my favorite of the stash I hauled home from Hawaii. (My bag tipped the scale at 50.0 lbs., exactly the weight limit.) I just loved the border print and couldn't wait to make it into a skirt, so I took some time out from quilting to get it done. There's a little left over, so I get to plan another project. Hmm...

The good news about the quilt is that we have our living room back as of yesterday afternoon when we took that baby out of the frame. Oh, it is so wonderful to have things back to normal in that room. My family was so sweet about having to lie under the quilt or peer over it during family devotions or watching TV. Having a tent or a fort in the living room is less of a novelty to them these days.

My fingers sighed a desperate, "Thank you," with the end of the quilting phase. Although I have no feeling in two of them, at least they will have an opportunity to heal.

Now I'm hemming the edges, and then we will be one step closer to a new bedroom. Pillow shams are forthcoming. I promise a photo of the finished product.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Experiment Day

It's been somewhat of a scrambling, piecemeal kind of week, but in the midst of all the madness, we found time to complete this pretty cool science experiment.

We have really enjoyed using Apologia's Young Explorer Series, and this year we are studying Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day.

Lots of information about marine mammals has been sneaking its way into our brains, and our last two modules have covered whales, seals, and sea cows. All of these creatures have a layer of blubber under their skin, and this experiment was designed to show its purpose.

We began by putting two rubber gloves on one hand and immersing that hand in a bowl of ice water. We used a stopwatch to clock how long our experimenter could comfortably keep his hand in the water. (1 minute, 23 seconds)

Next, we put one glove on the other hand and covered it with a thick coating of vegetable shortening. You could also use petroleum jelly.

We then covered this disgusting object with another rubber glove. Oh yeah, we had waffles for breakfast that morning.

This hand, with its layer of blubber, was then placed in the ice water to demonstrate the difference a layer of blubber can make for a whale or a walrus swimming in icy waters.

The contrast was apparently very dramatic because as I started the timer, my son said, "Mom, you can go watch a movie if you want."

Science experiements can really stress me out, especially when they don't work, but this one was pure fun and pretty much foolproof. You can do it. Come on, give it a shot.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Paradise Revisited

Ahh, for a little bit of this today...

Friday, October 10, 2008


The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

Emily Dickinson

Thursday, October 9, 2008

In Progress

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Birthday Party

The food,

the favors,

the friends,

and the fun

all added up to a wonderful birthday afternoon.

It was so much fun to host a birthday party for my precious grandmother. Several friends from her Sunday School class and her craft group joined us yesterday afternoon for a time of celebration.

They brought sweet gifts of homemade jellies and crocheted goodies, flowers, sweet smelling stuff, and other things to pamper a special lady. We enjoyed refreshments and even a silly TV commercial jingle game complete with prizes for the best and worst scores.

After everyone had gone home, Grannie told me that she'd never had a birthday party before. I was amazed, but I think it was about time. We'll definitely have to do it again next year.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Individual size cereal boxes, four poster bed, the Red Room, Zingers, best hide and seek, Christmas ornaments, Orange Crush, spending the night, astronaut project, Cool Whip, burro piƱata, quilts, orange slices, flowers, crafts, painting, redbirds, Captain D's, pecans, and lots of love.

She's a classy lady with amazing gifts and abilities. I have always thought she could do absolutely anything. Some of my fondest memories are of times spent at her house doing all manner of fun things that I probably would not be doing at home. She's helped me become the person I am, and I am so rich because of what she's poured into me.

We are all amazingly blessed by our sweet Grannie, and today we joyously celebrate her birthday.

We love you, Grannie!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thank You, Lord, for the Harvest

We have been so blessed with a garden surplus this year. My mother-in-law has graciously shared her extensive knowledge of canning and preserving to help our family put stores away for the winter.

In addition to these canned goods, we have a full freezer and several pounds of dried apples to get us through.

God is good.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Gift

Okay, so here's the skinny on this amazing birthday gift my extremely creative and thoughtful friend put together for my 40th birthday a few weeks ago. As you will see, she is incredible.

Inside this gorgeous bag were several individually wrapped gifts, labeled by decade. Along with each one were scripture verses appropriate to that time period.

The First Ten Years, The Days of Childhood

Jelly Belly jelly beans

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

(Sorry, no photo for this one. I can't imagine what happened to those yummy Jelly Bellys.)

The Second Ten Years, The Days of Fashion, Big Hair, and Makeup

Shaving cream for fights and shaving, clear lip gloss, hair spray, and stationery for staying in touch.

1Timothy 2:9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and means of good works as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.

The Third Ten Years, The Blessings of Marriage and Children

Bubbles, baby powder, Band-Aids, and a laundry bag

Ephesians 5:24-6:4 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord...For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh...Children obey your parents in the Lord...bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

The Fourth Ten Years, The Joys of Finding Adventures and Making Memories, A New Home, Travel, and Growing Responsibilities

A picture frame and world map

Psalm 127 Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it...Behold, children are a gift of the Lord.

The Decades That Are Yet to Come, Lord willing


Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Titus 2:3-5 Older women...are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the younger women...

She is incredible, and she's my friend!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Thanks to All From Kevin

What makes a vacation a vacation? Some would say getting away from work. Some would say no alarm clocks. Some would say no deadlines or stress. But what makes a vacation for me is spending time with the ones I love.

Thanks to Unc, AL, and Brian for sharing their trip with us.

Thanks to Mara and her trusty guide book for revealing Oahu to the less informed.

Thanks to Perry who snorkeled with his dad in the face of an angry (OK maybe not that angry) eel.

Thanks to Liam who provided the reading material and plays a mean Tonga drum.

And especially thanks to Wendy who makes every day paradise.

Yellowstone, anyone?


Special Times, Special Friend

I've discovered that friends often come in and out of my life in stages. School, college, jobs, clubs, church, and organizations all provide opportunities for friendships at different times. Common interests, goals, and life situations often bring us together with like-minded people, and relationships are readily established.

Because our lives are so fluid, these connections often fade and so do the relationships. It's not a result of disagreements or conflict; it's a simple fact of life. Change is a constant in our lives, probably more today than at any other time in history. Life moves so quickly, too quickly if we are completely honest. Before we know it our interests or situations have changed, and we simply don't have the same contacts we did before.

That's exactly why I feel so blessed to have what I call a lifelong friend, one who has been with me through it all. We were silly little girls playing with Barbies, pre-teens giggling about boys, high-schoolers cheering for the Tigers, college students searching for our way, young adults falling in love with super guys, new parents making our best guesses, and now...well, let's stop there.

Although we don't live next-door like we had originally planned all those years ago and life seems to keep us both hopping, we still manage to stay connected. Time passes quickly between our visits and calls, but when we are together it seems that we've never been apart.

Anne Shirley would call her, "my bosom friend," and she certainly is that. She knows my heart, has seen me at my best and at my worst, and she loves me anyway. I am so thankful!

One of the nicest things about my recent birthday was a visit from this special friend. I had already received several birthday cards in the mail from her, each highlighting the fact that I was turning 40. Our time together was definitely the icing on my birthday cake. We had a chance to catch up on all the news, especially that of a major transition their family is experiencing, and just enjoy being together.

I was surprised by an incredibly thoughtful gift which obviously took much time and effort which I will share in another post. It is such a great idea, and I'm not sure how I will ever match it when my dear friend turns 40 next year. Oh, my, the fun I will have!

Thanks, Dayna, for being such a wonderful, special friend to me all through my (*long*) life. I know that a silly little thing like the Atlantic Ocean could never truly separate us, so I look forward to the ways our friendship will continue to grow in the years to come. I love you so much, and I thank God for you!