Saturday, December 29, 2007


About 5 years ago or so, dd15 had pretty much stopped playing with her vast American Girl doll collection after years of enjoyment. She had a bitty baby as well as the big doll collection. When her collection started to only gather dust, she and I decided it was time to pack it all away for hopefully a granddaughter someday??
Only God knew at that time that He had another daughter for us.
DD15 and I dug out part of the collection out this Christmas for another special little girl to enjoy. We reminisced about those days when she was just a little girl and played and played with these dolls for hours on end. A certain girl who is not so little anymore had great fun going through all of her old things.
The greenhouse went up yesterday. I'll keep you posted on that this year, I know you can hardly wait...

A nursery we like was having a great sale this week, tulips were 75% off. So we planted more tulips.My mother in law, cooked a turkey on Christmas Day. She gave me the leftovers, so I made lots of turkey stock, then turkey noodle soup. I wasn't planning on taking a picture of this but then when I saw the carrots, onion and celery looking so pretty, well....

Now I have stock of stock for the freezer. Which I love to have on hand to make soup. I am allergic to MSG (monosodium glutamate), which is in many store bought chicken broths/stocks. I can't always find the brands that don't have msg, like Kitchen Basics-which I love but can be a bit pricey. So homemade stock is a really good thing.

I know most of you have probably made stock but for those who haven't and want to try, here is how you do it;

Chicken or Turkey Stock

Pull off all meat (save for soup) and place carcass in a large stock pot. Cover with cool water. Wash and chop, but don't peel a few large carrots, a few stalks of celery and 2 medium onions. Add some whole peppercorns and 1 or 2 bay leaves. Bring to boil and reduce heat and let cook on stove for 6-10 hours. Refrigerate overnight. Take out and skim off fat.

Friday, December 28, 2007

a gift...

Just a little gift for a friend.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Just thought I'd show you a bit of our decorations. The picture of our nativity came out blurry but it is especially beautiful this year. Sorry you can't see it.
The tree.
The garland was made from boxwood that came from a friend's yard. This is not the nativity I was referring to. This one is in the kitchen.
I really enjoy making these greenery arrangements. I think they make every room festive...
Here is another little one.
Well , it is finally Christmas Eve. We will go to Mass this evening with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We will then come here and have dinner together.
We are so fortunate to be able to be with some of our family this Christmas. We miss those who live far away-LOVE YOU GUYS!
May you and your families be blessed abundantly with the gifts
that come from God alone this Christmas Season!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

oh those crazy kids...

I think this might be the consequences of watching How the Grinch stole Christmas just one too many times...

Anywho, thought this was pretty funny.
Big sissy has a 2 ltr. coke bottle in her hair (that's a lot of hair!) and little one has a water bottle.
This lovely note was on the door of my son's room...

If you enlarge it, it reads

I am disgusted with my room!

don't have time to clean it now.

I will clean it on the break,

it is the first thing I will do.

Please don't bug me, I am aware I am living and sleeping in a


It made me laugh because although I am aware of how bad it is, I have not said anything. But I do like this conviction and self awareness he came to on his own. He's growing up.

BTW, he got his license a couple of weeks ago. I feel such a loss of control. I find this new chapter very challenging. A whole new lesson in surrender to God.

A friend once said to me, just wait until you watch your two oldest children pull out of the driveway together in the same car for the first time. She was right, it was really hard, scary, I definitely felt a little nauseous...

As with everything else in my life, I must leave them in HIS hands.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

thrifty decorations...

Hubby made this wonderful wreath. I love it! It now hangs on the side of our home with a spotlight shining on it at night and we are enjoying it very much.
A year or two ago after Christmas, hubby found two large wreaths out on the curb of a church next door to where he works. He took all the greenery off them and put them away. As I was driving down the road one day I came across some utility workers cutting pine branches away from the phone lines and the road was lined with large piles of greenery that would be disposed of. I quickly ran home to get hubby and we filled up the car twice with lots of fresh pine. The men were happy to let us have all we wanted.
It's so much more fun getting things this way rather than going to the store and
just buying them. Not to mention being able to see the hand of God that much more clearly.
I wish I had blogged more this Advent, but I didn't, oh well.
One of the things I like about blogging, is that it is really like a scrapbook or journal. I have journaled for many years and it is so nice to look back and see where
I have been and what I've done. It's helped me to recall those special moments with much more clarity and when I read about the more challenging times it reminds me of lessons learned and as St. Teresa of Avila said,"all things are passing, God only is changeless"

Thursday, November 29, 2007

thoughts to ponder...

I have read this before, and came across it again this morning.

Makes a lot of sense to me, what do you think?

Monday, November 26, 2007

this and that...

For those of you that know me, you know there is little I like less than having my picture taken. But I will make an exception now and then. This one is of my daughter (who hates this picture, but let me post it anyway) and I at Rockefeller Center in NYC last Saturday. It is always a good day when I get to spend some quality time with one of my children individually. We met my brothers, for coffee in the morning, they were working in Manhattan that day. We then walked over to St. Patrick's Cathedral for noon Mass. We found this gentleman playing some really wonderful, loud music on some very random found objects such as a piece of sheet metal, a wire shelf, an empty 5 gallon bucket, an old vegetable bin taken from a refrigerator and a few other things. To me this seemed like such a profound metaphor for life. I too like to create things out of discarded materials - to make something out of nothing.
In a way, it reminds me of how God uses us in many different ways to bring blessing to others. He can take our nothingness and turn into something beautiful.

Here is a look at hubby's little workshop. These are a bunch of wreaths in varying stages of completion. He makes hand tied fresh wreaths. They really are lovely. He is filling orders for about 30 so far and we will participate in our parish's artisan fair in a couple of weeks.

My least favorite plant would probably be the cactus. We have two Christmas Cacti that just sit around looking ugly all year (in my opinion-hubby likes them), that is until now when they bloom in radiant color. We have this fuchsia plant and another coral one. I think there is probably another metaphor for life in this somewhere, but I think I'll spare you. I stuffed some boxwood around the edges to make it festive. A friend from church let us at her boxwood and holly bushes yesterday, and let us trim to our hearts content. I want to put together some greenery arrangements for that artisan fair.

Hope you are having a great day!

Friday, November 2, 2007

clowning around...

We had a great time trick or treating this year. Our friends came for dinner and we all headed out around the neighborhood until there bags were heavy with lots of treats. A great time was had by all.
I really enjoyed making this costume for her. The best part was using what I had on hand to do it. I had the simplicity clown pattern, the colorful dotted fabric my mom gave me years ago, the red corduroy, denim, and vintage floral all came from the stash. My mother in law made the pom poms with her yarn stash.
Total cost in materials=$0, memories=priceless!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

present but not giftwrapped...

Just wanted to check in. I have been otherwise occupied lately and haven't had the chance to post. I plan on doing so more frequently, especially since things are calming down around here and the longer nights will soon be upon us.

What have I been up to you ask (or not, but I'll tell you anyway). I have been getting a crash course in homeschooling. My dd15 is officially being homeschooled as of this week. It was very much her own decision, with lots of parental input of course. We live in an area where there is an amazing amount of resources for the homeschooling family. Our very own parish has an abundance of well seasoned homeschoolers, for which I am so grateful to for the guidance and support they have given us these last few weeks.

We have several good reasons for making this somewhat bold move at this time. I won't be getting into the details here. I will say however, that we do this not because we feel she couldn't succeed in school, because she has! This is not a consolation prize because things didn't work out at school, but rather an exciting and better suited opportunity for her at this particular moment in time.

We have gotten through the first week and it has been a good one!

If you told me we would ever be doing this a few years back, I would never have believed you. Once again, God's ways prove to be strange and wonderful!


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

The little one and I got together with some friends yesterday and went to local Natural History and Science Museum. The kids had a blast (not to mention the moms). They got to see and touch a turtle, a snake, a skink. They checked out lots of lots of birds, bugs, rocks and minerals as well as lots of other things.

Then we headed over to the park for a picnic. It was a great day. I wish I had taken some pictures. I brought along some soup and all the moms seemed to enjoy it.

I'm not a huge cauliflower fan, but this tastes more like mashed potatoes. I rarely follow recipes exactly, except when baking. I used a huge head of cauliflower, way more than 1 1/2 pds. and a little extra half and half, adjusted the salt and pepper and still it came out quite good. In other words , I don't think you can screw this one up.

This is from Betty Crocker

1 1/2 pds. cauliflower
2 cups water
1 large stalk of celery chopped (3/4) cup
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 T butter
2 T flour
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper
dash nutmeg
1/2 heavy whipping cream (I use half and half)
shredded cheese

remove florets, set aside. Heat water to boiling. Add cauliflower, celery and onion. Cover and heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer about 10 minutes until tender.
Place cauliflower mixture in blender , blend until smooth.
Melt butter, stir in flour until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in broth. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute.
Stir in Cauliflower mixture, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Heat just to boiling. Stir in whipping cream. Heat just until hot (do not boil or soup may curdle). Serve with cheese.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

my prince...

This little fella showed up in our yard last week. It was love at first sight.

Don't worry mom, I didn't actually let her kiss him.
Last week was the West Lampeter Fair. What a great event that is each year. It's a real country, family oriented, fun time for everyone. This year I had 4 entries. Zucchini bread, that did not fair well. I will try that again next year, I think I over mixed. I also entered 3 items, 2 pillows and a child's apron into various sewing categories, I won 2nd place for each one. I was thrilled!
The big winner was hubby. He won 15 ribbons!
He entered a whole bunch of his produce and flowers from the garden and did quite well. I was so happy for him. As you know by now, He is quite the passionate gardener. It was lots of fun and he was pleased.

Oh where, oh where has September gone?..... Every year at this time I look back and September seems to be just a blur.

Have a fabulous Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

and the winner is...

Congratulations Melanie! I will contact you for shipping information.
Well, that was fun! Thanks for all the nice comments.
It has been really busy around here these last few weeks. We are now in full swing with the oldest two and all there school, work, activities, etc.
This would have been little one's first day of preschool had I not changed my mind a few days ago about sending her. Her teacher came to the house two weeks ago for a little visit, we had open house last week, which was all good. We met the parents, the children, we did some cute activities, all nice enough. Then we got into the car and I had an epiphany of sorts and realized I really did not want to send her to this or any other preschool, for this year anyway. My patient and supportive husband is completely on board with the new plan for which I am so very grateful. I bounced back and forth on this decision all summer. I think I drove my wonderful, patient, always supportive husband a little crazy. Once the decision was made, the call to the school to opt out completed, I was finally peaceful.
We have lots of great activities planned for home, out in the community and with friends. I am confident it is the best thing for her this year.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I have been wanting to say thank you to all who stop by this blog, it really makes it fun when you take the time to read what we are up to here. Thank you for your kindness and support. To those who leave comments, thank you-I love that! Some don't-that's fine too. Blogger does not allow me to reply to comments directly, at least not that I have figured out. I'm sorry I didn't realize this sooner, but I can just leave a comment after you leave a comment so I think I will just do that.

That said, I am long overdue on a give-away. So here it is. This little purse/tote is made of decorator fabric and lined, so it is pretty sturdy. The inside is lined with the textured wine colored fabric and has a pocket inside for cell phone, keys, etc. I took a picture inside and outside to try and get the true colors. I just love this fabric for fall.

Just leave a comment and you have a chance to win. The drawing will be within the week. To make it a little more interesting, link this post on your blog and get an additional chance to win. If you have a blog or not, each time someone leaves a comment to enter and mentions your name, gives you an additional chance to win.Have a fabulous Monday!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

it's a God thing....

Every Wednesday, my daughter and I go to my friends house to say the Rosary with a group of moms from church. The moms pray , the kids play. It is always a nice morning.
This morning as I was tidying the kitchen, I had a thought to make a banana bread to bring over, so I did. I called my friend and told her I had a banana bread in the oven, so don't bother to make anything. She was really surprised because she had planned on making one this morning when she woke up, but her husband ate the bananas. She really didn't have the supplies in the house to make anything else so she was going to pull some a pie out of the freezer, which I'm sure would have been fine.
I know this is kind of a silly story and you may be wondering why on earth I felt the need to share this with you, but here's the thing. To me and my friend it served as yet another big reminder through the smallest of details how much God cares for our every need. It reminds me to listen to the still small voice of God that leads and guides me.
If I feel compelled to make banana bread, I should make banana bread. If someone keeps coming to my mind, maybe I need to call them or better yet pray for them. That's how God works, that's how he uses us to help others. In my life right now, with my primary focus being a wife and mother, I may not be able to work in a soup kitchen or volunteer at the hospital, but I can do things like these. I just have to be quiet enough so I can hear Him.
Anyhow, here is the recipe. It comes from a little cookbook by the Sisters of St. Dominic.

Banana Bread

1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
2 c. flour
3 very ripe bananas-the riper the better
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, salt and vanilla. Sift flour and baking soda and add to mixture. Add bananas and nuts. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour.

enjoy, it's moist and delicious.

Monday, August 27, 2007

new year...

Well, the older two are off to their Sophomore and Junior years today. School officially starts tomorrow but they are both Student Ambassadors so they have to help out with freshman orientation. It is always a mixed blessing when they go back. It marks the end of leisurely summer days, time in the pool, quality family time and then the start of what seems like never ending activity, carpooling, carpooling and more carpooling. We have had a good summer and I am grateful.

On my sister's last visit she brought me these goodies. They are not your ordinary cleaning products, they are more natural and better for the environment than most others, and they smell amazing! Once I get started with these, I can't stop myself. I think it's the smell. This is the geranium scent. They contain essential oils so the smell lingers a bit longer too.

I was scrubbing down the dining room chairs and table yesterday, spindles, legs, you know, a good cleaning, and before I knew it I was on my hands and knees doing the cabinets, appliances and floor. Any product that can encourage me to do all that is worth it's weight in gold!
As does January, the new school year inspires me to nest, to clean, to bring more order to our home, and to re-evaluate things.
I do love this time of year, but I miss the kids.......a little (just kidding).

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Beth just told me about a great Blog, By Sun and Candlelight. It is just what I have been needing lately, and filled with inspiring ideas. Check it out if you have the chance. On this blog, I came across a tutorial for making a prayer journal. I couldn't wait to make one for myself. So before the sun was up, or anyone else for that matter I did, this morning. My mom had sent my daughter a ton of scrapbooking supplies and I just rummaged through those and came up with this...I have been journaling for about 10 years and have found it to be tremendously beneficial for both emotional and spiritual growthI found a way to incorporate some buttons. I just love buttons.
I co-coordinate the Mothers group at my church. The theme of the September meeting will be "Lighten the Load". The girl I work with will focus on the physical aspects of our theme through a discussion on healthy food and excercise and I will focus on the emotional/spiritual ways we can "lighten our loads" through prayer, the Sacraments and journaling. When I saw the tutorial for the prayer journal, I instantly thought the moms in our group might really enjoy making one of their own, so I think we will.

It has been an absolutely gloriorus cool late August day. Speaking of inspiration, this weather inspires me. I went through and organized my fabric stash today. I also went through little one's clothes to see what she has for the cooler weather. I picked up some great fabrics this morning at a garage sale, the house of a seamstress. I have a load of corduroy in the wash and soon I will begin working on some new things for her. Fun, fun, fun!
Hope you are having a fabulous weekend!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

ahhh, summer...

Beth and I did New Holland Market yesterday. Not a good market day but it was great fun chatting with my friend all morning. This is one of Beth's quilts, love it!
After spending so much time surrounded by these beautiful quilts, I am determined to learn this art.
Here are some of my bib and burp cloth sets.
Sorry for the sideways picture. Some of hubby's pretty flowers and yummy tomatoes.
Here are some bib cloth sets. I will be listing things on the etsy shop sometime this week.
We have friends coming tomorrow to stay for a couple of days. We haven't seen them in 4 years and we are really looking forward to the visit.

It's hard to believe school begins in 2 weeks. It has been a wonderful summer. What I love most about summer...the sun, the garden, the pool, spending good quality time with my family, less carpooling. As much as I love summer, every year about this time I begin to long for a little more structure in the schedule, I look forward to the fresh slate and new opportunities that a new school year brings.

And let's be honest, I look forward to the house being a little less messy and a little more quiet.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

I thought you might like to know...

I finally added a list of "sites I like" to the side bar. You'll see some friends and others that inspire me daily.
I stop by Catholic Exchange for the daily Mass readings and reflections as well as some great articles. When I was working full time I would take a few minutes each day and pop into Sacred Space-It really helped me stay centered. When The teenagers want to see a movie we always check on first. This site is great. It tells you exactly what a Christian might consider inappropriate for family viewing, then you can make an educated decision. My coupons has saved us lots of money. Organized home has lots of great ideas on organizing-I'm not sure if I will ever get that down. But I'm always trying. Tumble books is e-books for children. My little one enjoys this once in a while.
Hope you are having a fabulous Sunday!

Monday, July 30, 2007


Lately, sometimes it seems that has been one thing after another. I'm sure you know what I mean. Honestly, when I look at the big picture, it is all minor. The latest is that the transmission went on my car after replacing the engine just a few months ago, and after replacing what seems like every other part on this car. The good news we hope, is that every major thing has been replaced or repaired so with the help of God that will be all for a while. I am strangely grateful for these trials because without them I wouldn't have the renewed awareness of how much our family and friends love us and are always willing to help out. From Grandma and Grandpa driving our son to and from work-even though it is late. To our next door neighbor offering the use of their vehicle and the offering of bringing me to the store while our car is out of commission and hubby is at work. I am grateful for friends that listened to me on the phone as I was close to dispair about this stupid car. For Heather and her husband bringing over their other car early Sunday morning so we could get to Mass. Wow! My cup overflows!
I have been wanting to get a picture of the three kids together on the blog for a while. It's been just the girls so far. We had a kodak moment out by the garden this evening as daddy was gathering the fruits of his labor.
Daddy's little helper.
She loves those tomatoes!
Guess what I'm doing tomorrow..........making a lot of tomato sauce. We look forward to this all year and enjoy it out of the freezer for months to come. This will be the third batch so far. It is easy and a great way to use up the tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, oregano and parsley from the garden.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

a blessed day...

I participated as a vendor at The New Holland Farmer's Market this morning. It was a wonderful day in many ways. It was rewarding when lots of sweet people were complimentary about my handcrafted "wares". I sold more items than I expected to. But, what was even better was... The unexpected blessing of sharing a stand with a lovely woman who sold beautiful flowers from her garden. She had her 4, very well behaved children with her. I learned early on in the morning that her husband had passed away just 5 months ago from cancer. Her husband had been a landscaper and there are lots of flowers around their home. This is one of her arrangements;
The blessing I received today was not only to witness the determination, creativity and faith of this young mother. It is also the very loud, fog horn-like reminder of how incredibly
blessed I am.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

fall fashion preview...

I made these ponchos out of felted wool/wool. I was brainstorming on what to use besides fleece and my friend Beth suggested the felted wool idea. It worked out very nicely. I picked up some wool scraps at a new favorite thrift store Re-Uzit in New Holland. All proceeds go to Mennonite Central Committee, a very worthy cause. All their stores are kept so organized and clean as well.
This one is from McCalls M4962. It is a pattern calling for fleece. I really enjoyed using the wool and fringing the ends.
I whipped up this wool flower from the scraps (from the scraps) and added the blanket stitching around the neckline.
This one is from an old Simplicity Pattern 9531 from 1971.

Sorry for the bad pictures.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Little Miss Sunshine!

Today is our daughter's 15th birthday. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to God as I write this. This child has brought more joy to our lives than I can express. She has had more than her share of trials in her life than most her age and has only flourised through them. When Annie was 22 months old she was diagnosed as being hearing impaired as was her older brother. Getting a toddler to wear hearing aids, correction-getting a toddler to do anything can be a challenge and oh, how she was and still is a stubborn one. When she was 6 years old she began having some health issues and when she was 7 she was diagnosed with Kidney Disease which had already claimed 1/3 of each of her kidneys. The doctors told us it was an extremely rare disease in children and they could not be certain of the progression. However, due to the fact she had lost so much kidney tissue it was likely the disease would progress-it did not. Through God's grace she is and has been in full remission for several years and will be watched for the rest of her life. We believe, as well as some doctors that I have spoken to that this was a miracle.
She is the very best big sister, little sister, daughter, grandaughter, friend that one could hope to have. She has a heart to serve others, full of compassion.
She is creative, funny, hard-working and I can't wait to see what God's plans are for her as an adult. See Jeremiah 29:11.
The older she gets the more she thirsts for adventure and freedom. This makes me a little nervous. But I know this beautiful girl has favor with God and He will continue to protect her as he always has.