Friday, August 31, 2012

Portulaca :: Moss Rose

The other morning as I did dishes, I looked out the window.  I couldn't help but notice the heavy dew on the grass and flowers.  The sun was already bright, but still low in the sky, and I decided to hurry out to snap some pictures before the shadows appeared.

These are the Portulaca (also known as Moss Rose) in the garden just beside our patio.  During this dry summer, it seemed to take forever before they took hold and made themselves at home.  Right now, they're flowering and spreading like crazy.  I love the variety of colors: shades of red, pink, coral, yellow, and even white.

Here are some dewy shots that I managed to get... God's fingerprints.

Enjoy a safe holiday weekend!




I'm linking up with Beki
@The Rusted Chain
and Ewa
@Blueberry Craft and Hobby Time

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Takin' Out the Trash

"Take out the papers and the trash, or you don't get no spendin' cash.
If you don't scrub that kitchen floor, you ain't gonna rock and roll no more.
Yakety yak (don't talk back!)

Just finish cleanin' up your room.
Let's see that dust fly with that broom.
Get all that garbage out of sight, or you don't go out Friday night!
Yakety yak (don't talk back!)"

So, I was taking out the trash on trash night, and I noticed a pile of rusted hardware pieces near the trash cans.  I wondered if my hubby meant for it all to be taken to the curb, so I went back inside to ask him.  "Yes" was his answer, so I did what any photo-crazy blogger would do.  I grabbed my camera, and headed back outside to take some pictures before rolling the trash to the curb.  Afterall, rusted "stuff" can be a sort-of-cool photographic subject!  (You be the judge.)

Anyway -- that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!  (Yakety yak.  Don't talk back!)

rusted hardware

ruested hardware

rusted hardware

rusted hardware

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Weekend Adventures

Sometimes road-trips with no destination in mind are the best ones.  On Saturday, we took a drive that ultimately led us through two counties to our west and southwest.  It was a beautiful day -- a great day for a drive!    I thought I'd share some pictures of our adventure.

Come along and enjoy the view!

Pick a flavor! (syrups at the farm market)

Loved this framed piece using a piece of music.  Isn't it pretty?

Up on the hill at Rittman Orchards

Apple trees were loaded.

A barn along the way...

The sky was so gorgeous!

Love this wagon!  It is always here and filled with seasonal beauty.

An old piece of farm machinery - love the flowery vine flowing from the large spout at left!

These were the tiny yellow flowers on that vine.

And the trough at right?  Filled with this beautiful display!

How about you?  Do you enjoy a "no-destination drive?"

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dear Mr. Smucker,

I love your jars.

In fact, my family enjoys your actual products as well.  Apricot Preserves and Sugar-Free Concord Grape Jam are two of our often-purchased items.  Occasionally, we enjoy your Hot Fudge Topping in a favorite recipe.

But, I wanted you to know that I think your jars with the gingham lids are so cute, and totally worth saving for re-use of all kinds!

I store dehydrated onions in one jar in my spice cupboard.

This weekend, I bought taco seasoning in bulk (read: not individual packets), and today, I transferred it from the not-so-sturdy plastic container to one of the Smucker's jars that I'd saved.  When I open my cupboard, I see all kinds of gingham cuteness.

I wondered why you took the time to make those jar lids so attractive.  Now I know.  You were ahead of your time in thinking, "Reduce. Reuse. Recycle."  Thanks Mr. Smucker!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Calendar Girl

Yep.  I am a girl who loves my calendar.

It helps organize our entire family, as I keep everyone's appointments and commitments noted there for the most part.  I've kept several different kinds of calendars through the years, starting back in college.  Back then, I started with a 3-ring variety from Current, and I was hooked.  I "refilled" it for several years.  Then, as a newlywed, I "graduated" to Day-Timers.

Then I found Mary Engelbreit, and her beautiful desk calendars!  I so love her artwork, and as a young mom, it brightened my day a little to have her images around me.  I used her calendars for several years as well.

About 6 years ago, I happened to stumble upon something different at a popular bookstore chain.  The Gallery Leather leather desk weekly planner.  I loved the leather cover, as well as the inside week-at-a-glance layout. Monthly calendars are also included, as well as an area for personal information and notes.  And the bonus was there were so many great colors to choose from.  (I still regret not buying ORANGE the year I spotted it!!)  They have a website where you can order direct, and choose from more colors, but their calendars are also available other places.  They seem to run $13 and upwards depending on where you purchase them.  For me, that's a good investment, since I truly write things down, and then forget about them --referring constantly to my calendar. The desk planner is also small enough to carry in a mid-sized purse.  I just ordered a "teal" one HERE, and can't wait until it arrives.

Embossed with the year - gotta love that!

Once the school year starts, I'm anxious to get a new calendar.  I want to make note of days off and dentist appointments down the road, etc.  It helps me keep my act together, what can I say?

Gallery Leather did not ask me to write this post.  I just wanted to share something of quality that I've come to appreciate.

Do you have a favorite "go-to" calendar that you purchase each year?

Friday, August 24, 2012

HomeGoods Finds

The other day, I mentioned HERE that I had found some interesting items at our local HomeGoods store.  I was in search of two things -- both of them baskets.

1.  I needed a large, low-sided basket to put on top of the refrigerator.  Remember, I said that my sweet hubby tends to empty his pockets (and arms) there when he gets home?  We're talking everything from spare change to computer parts or tools.  Here's what I found to hold it all:

 I'm a little crazy about wire baskets, as I may have mentioned before.  I love the large size of this!

 I like the wooden handles as well!

I lined the basket with a pretty cotton dish towel so little things don't fall through.

2.  I also was interested in finding a narrow low-sided basket to put on the back of the toilet to hold t.p. in the downstairs powder room.  I found just what I needed.


I love the beach theme of this downstairs powder room.  It holds lots of little momentos of our beach vacations, including some favorite framed shots of the kids over the years.

Are you a HomeGoods shopper?  Our local store is across town, so I don't get there as often as I'd like -- which ultimately may be a good thing.  They have such wonderful stuff!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Recipe: Molasses Sugar Cookies

Tuesday was "Connections Day" for freshman -- my daughter's first day of school.  Yesterday was my son's first day.  I've been thinking of them like crazy during the day.

A dear friend just took her son to college over the weekend.  So, we know a little of one another's... ?angst?  Truth be told, I only have an inkling of what she must be feeling, but nevertheless, we have adopted the same mantra for this school year:  "God is good, and loves my kids even more than I do!"  What a comfort it is to rest in that.

So, while I was resting (and picking up clothes, and making my bed, and doing laundry, and folding towels, and running errands.... HA!  What, you thought I'd be eating bonbons?), I thought I would whip up some Molasses Sugar Cookies (read: BAKE some bonbons) for my kids' after-school snack.

Hey, you didn't think after-school snacks were just for little kids, did you?  Big kids come home with a big hunger.  (Television commercials don't lie about that, at least.)

This recipe is an old family favorite, and super easy!

As I baked these cookies, I realized that while my kids were at home being homeschooled, we did a lot of little special things that we no longer get to do together.  So, it makes me happy to be able to do a little something to show them that I'm still thinking about them during the day.

Molasses Sugar Cookies

3/4 c. margarine
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt

Melt margarine & cool a little.  Add sugar, molasses, and egg.  Beat well.  
Add dry ingredients, and mix until incorporated completely.
Form into 1" balls and roll in granulated sugar.
Place on cookie sheet about 2" apart.
Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Do not overbake.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On the Edge of My Seat

For the past couple of weeks, I have been on the edge of my seat.

My heart in my throat.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop.

You've got the idea.  I've been waiting for something.  And it's here.


The boy drives.  Doesn't need me to take him anywhere.

The girl goes to school.  Doesn't need me to score her math test or type up a history test for her.

The bulk of my day is no longer driven by immediate response to what my kids need.  And I'm not all "Whoa is me."  But, I am sort of waiting for a new kind equilibrium to settle in.

I count every moment (all 18 years, 1 month, and 8 days) of motherhood to date as precious and privileged.  Not for one minute did I ever envy a working mom, or wish that I was doing anything else but staying home and caring for our kids.  I am blessed to have been able to do so.  Truly blessed.

I am so excited about what the future holds for me -- including some things that have already come to light as possibilities.  God is in the details.

But until he reveals his plan, please allow me to sit on the edge of my seat.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Food for Thought: Forgiveness

I'm always amazed to watch people who have been dealt difficult circumstances, or have outrightly been wronged respond in a way that indicates only grace.  We all like to think that we would respond in an appropriate and grace-FULL manner when things get tough, but how can we really say for sure... until we are thrust into bad circumstances?

This quote caught my eye the other day, and I felt compelled to share it:

"Refusing to forgive is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."
~ Dr. Jim Dincalci

I remember one time in high school... being in the throes of dramatic friendship issues.  I swore I would never forgive someone.  It consumed me.  I remember my mom trying to comfort me, and encouraging me to forgive the person who had wronged me.  Hate and lack of forgiveness use SO MUCH OF OUR ENERGY, and WE are the ones who ultimately suffer most.  With only so much energy to go around, isn't it better spent on something more productive?

Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

And there's the key.  I am forgiven.  Not deserving, mind you.  But, forgiven nevertheless.

And so who am I (other than the already mentioned "undeserving") to withhold forgiveness from anyone else? Truly.

Food for thought.

Monday, August 20, 2012

JOY Hangs Around Here

When we were in Charleston earlier this summer, my sweet hubby (remembering one of my favorite words: JOY) bought me two stone pendants.  Each had the word "JOY" on it, and each had a hold drilled all the way through it for hanging.  I've been thinking about what I could do with them.


The other day, I went to Michael's, and got thin leather cording, and some coordinating beads to match the purple medallion.

purple beads

I'm pretty proud of myself.  I know it's only "beginner" level as far as jewelry-making goes.  But, my goal was to create something that I'd actually wear --not to master the art of jewelry-making.


My one frustration (me being a bead-novice and all) was that when I got home, and unstrung the beads, I realized that not all of them had the same size hole in the middle.  Therefore, even though I had picked a very thin leather cording, only about 2/3 of my beads would fit.  (Have you ever had this happen to you?)  I had to adjust my plan a little bit.  Even so, I'm happy with the result.


On Sunday, I wore my new necklace to church - along with a big smile.  (You have to smile when you have JOY hanging around your neck!)

I might have to try the blue stone next... I'm wondering if I should make the same thing... or do something different?  Perhaps a keychain?  Ooooh, yes.  I like that idea.  If I follow through, I'll keep you posted.


Coming up for us this week:
Tuesday = "Connections" day for new freshmen (mandatory attendance)
<you can read about last year's adventure HERE.>
Wednesday = First Day for all other students.

*heavy sigh*  The end of an era for this (former homeschooling) mama.  I think I will probably cry hard for a few minutes, and then I'll be good.  Pretty much planning on that.

It'll sure be quiet around here!  Are your kids back in school?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Life on the Fast Track

Oh good GRAVY life has been busy!!!  Even though I now have an extra driver around the house (did I tell you? Our son got his license!), it has been non-stop around here.  So non-stop, in fact, that when I finally stopped yesterday, I TOTALLY FORGOT about a meeting.  That's what happens when I stop.

My mistake.  I sat down.  When will I learn?

"to do" list

But seriously.  I've been a little absent from here, and we've been a lot busy, but life is good.  We started our summer vacation with... vacation, as you might remember.  The weeks that followed were lazy for the most part. These last two weeks or so have been jam-packed.  So much so, that the routine of school will be (dare I say it?) WELCOME!

On Tuesday, our internet finally was fixed.  We're back up to speed, and all is right with the world again.  Who ever heard of a cable-guy coming 3 hours early?  But that's exactly what happened.  Woohoo - a new modem, and we're back in business.

basket bowls

Yesterday, my daughter agreed to go "babysit" my sister's three kiddos while Jill and I hit a few favorite shopping spots.  Namely, HomeGoods and Target.  At HomeGoods they were busy-busy stocking shelves.  We visited our favorite shelves twice to see what new things they had added.  There is so much beautiful stuff in that store.  I drooled over the dishes, and stop myself from buying them because there are only so many flat surfaces and storage cupboards in our home, you know?  But, another favorite at HomeGoods is their baskets.  (And who doesn't have stuff to put in a basket?)  Namely, the wire kind.  If you follow me on Pinterest, you may know that I have a board called "Crazy for Wire & Iron."  I wish I could explain the draw.  That's the "crazy" part!  Perhaps it's because they're so crazy-reasonable at HomeGoods!  I came home with a lovely low-sided wire basket with wooden handles.  It's for the top of our refrigerator where all manner of things get dumped when my sweet hubby walks in the door.  If I ever tell you my "refrigerator overfloweth," I probably mean the top -- not the INside!

I also picked up a more traditional low-sided basket for the back of the toilet in the downstairs powder-room.  I had fun rearranging a few things in there.  I still love the "beach-y" items in the powder room that have been collected over time.  Maybe I'll take some pictures another day when I'm writing in daylight.

Right now, it's da-ark, and way too early.  Our son had a really early job assignment today, so of course, I was up to see him off... and then, you know, the brain starts clickety-clacking -- and next thing you know, I'm fully awake. Must be time to write a Friday blog post, right?  Just in time for that weekend break - ha!

Hopefully next week I'll be back on track.  Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Do You Ever Do This?

The power goes out.  Rats.  Can't watch my movie.  Can't run the dishwasher, or do laundry (things I should've been doing rather than watching a movie anyways).  Hmmm.  What else?  I KNOW!  I'll get some vacuuming done.  Uh, nope.  That takes power too.

Well for the past six days (but who's counting?), we've enjoyed a wide range (sense the sarcasm?) of no internet to... sketchy internet at best.  On a good day, I have six tabs set up on my screen.  The last few days (if I can get internet at ALL), I have to work everything from one tab... and then it takes reloading several times.  Let's just say there's been a heightened sense of frustration around here.

And then... I'll just check about this thing that's going on at church... on the internet.  Sorry, no internet.

Sure!  I'll Google-map that for ya!  Oops!  Sorry, no internet.

And then... we'll have a great weekend, and I'll want to share photos of my daughter's baptism with our friends on facebook, and gosh -- POKEY internet.  These photos will NEVER load!!!

So -- I'm not ignoring you.  Really!  I'm... cleaning, and organizing, and purging, and making my kids vacuum -- and clean, and organize, and purge.  HEY!  I'm the one that has to look at their rooms while they're gone all day! PLUS, THEY have no internet EITHER.  (See how that works?)  LOL

Hope ya'll are doing well and getting ready to get back in the swing.  Or are you already there?  The "party" starts a week from tomorrow at our house -- so this week is our last hurrah.

Mostly, I just wanted to say hello, and let you know we're still here.  I'd share a pretty picture of all of the exciting cleaning and organizing that's going on around here, except -- for crying out loud... this post would never publish, so I'll just play it safe.  And also -- it's not all that pretty.

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pinterest: Five Minute Cake

(and a great giveaway link!  Please read to the end!)

Internet connection has been slow, and unpredictable lately.  Of course --since I was just recently bragging on how few problems we seem to have with it!  OY!  Anyways, I'm happy to be able to connect and post after a couple days with not much internet success.

I've been waiting for a while now to share this Project Pinterest post with you all...


We came home one Sunday after church, and baking was on my daughter's mind. "What can I bake?" she wondered aloud. Since it was hot, and the air-conditioning was cranking away, I tried to discourage it. "Or else," I said, "Make something that doesn't need to bake long -- or that you can bake in the MICROWAVE!"

And then I remembered this pin for FIVE MINUTE CAKE IN A MUG.  She checked to make sure we had the ingredients on hand, and she was on her way.  This one was easy, successful, delicious, and RICH.  We each had a fork-full, and it was enough until later.  Well, some of us (clearing of throat) got an additional taste later.

This is just the thing for a bite of something sweet at the end of a meal.  You won't need much.  It's decadent and delicious -- and did I mention, RICH?

Here are the guidelines for Project Pinterest:
1. Decide which pin on Pinterest you'd like to recreate.
2. Create it!
3. Flop or success, create a blog post about your re-do and include the original pin's url.
4. Add the Project Pinterest button to your post so others can join in too!  (*From now on, to be considered a "Featured Pinner" you need to add the button to your blog, please.)
5. Link up and check out other bloggers' posts!

Psssssst.... just found out my friend Sasha @Lemonade Makin' Mama is hosting a great giveaway HERE.  Her friend Laura from The Ironstone Nest has put together a great collection of goodies to give away including:
  • a tiny bird's nest and faux egg
  • a mini preserved boxwood wreath with sheer ribbon for hanging
  • an ironstone soap holder with a bar of yummy soap
  • some book pages tied with twine
  • a chippy-wood numbered tag
  • an adorable French sign that reads: "The joy of life is in you!"
  • a black wood base and petite glass cloche
  • a vintage orange marmalade crock
Stop over to Sasha's blog to find out how to enter for a chance to win!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

If You Said "Please" and "Thank You"

Many years ago, when I was in a young moms group at church, I remember sitting at a table full of SAHMs and sharing stories.  One mom in particular shared a few funny anecdotes that I'll never forget.

One was that her young daughter told her that "when I grow up, I want to be just like you Mom!  I want to sit around and do nothing all day!"  Mind you, her daughter was too young and naive to realize that she had just belittled all that a mom does for her children and family.  (Just in case you're wondering, I know this lovely mom, and I can tell you that she was not just sitting on her hands all day! -- but that was the perception.)

Chive Blossoms

Another story went something like this:  The mom asked her preschooler to do a chore for her, and the child balked.  The mom said something like, "Why do you have to give me a hard time every time I ask you to do something for me?"  To which her preschooler responded, "I might be nicer if you said PLEASE and THANK YOU!"

Perhaps, like me, your first reaction was, "She said WHAT?"

But then, if you get to the heart of the matter...

There's nothing like being (figuratively) hit over the head with your own rules, right?

I have never forgotten that story.

Pink Gerber Daisy

Sure, it's important to teach our kids (no matter their age) that there are jobs that we count on them to do -- as part of the family-team.  But, it's no less important to be courteous with our requests, or to be appreciative when they've completed the task.

I remembered this story again earlier today when I passed along a request from my husband to my son:
"Please trim up the front bushes."

He just finished the job -- without complaint, I might add.

Time for me to finish... with a thank you!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Just a Note in the Margin

Just yesterday, I found an old church bulletin in the back of my Bible.  The pastoral quote below was noted in the margin.  Obviously, I thought it was significant at the time, and worth remembering -- so I wrote it down.  Today, I wanted to share it with you -- because I still think it's significant.  And worth remembering.

"The symbol of Christianity is a cross -- not a ladder.
We cannot "climb" the cross to get closer to God.
We cannot do anything in our own power to get closer.
God's grace alone allows us that."

The Cross

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith
-- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God
-- not by works, so that no one can boast."

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Spot in the Sun

...for crafting, that is.

My girl got a (Pinterest) idea in her head, and it's been stuck.  She's been itching to be creative, and she had a plan. So, we hit the craft store the other day and gathered her supplies.

Easy really.  We just needed a canvas, and crayons.  We already had a hair-dryer.  The bigger the canvas, the more crayons you need, so we decided to start small.  We can always "go big" sometime in the future after we know how this works on a small scale.

We decided to work outside where the mess wouldn't bother anything.  In fact, there wasn't much of a mess. There is the occasional spray or splash of wax, though.  Consider yourself warned if you decide to try this at home.

It started slow.  Really slow.  Like, are-these-crayons-ever-going-to-melt slow, and then...

Wow!  Look at those crayons melt!!

We got the idea HERE.  You can click that link for specific instructions.

The angle at which the hot air hits the canvas/melting wax determines how straight the lines of wax drip down the canvas.

Here's my beautiful girl.  How I love her!  She'll be starting her first year of public school after being homeschooled.  She's hoping to "get" the art class that she signed up for.

She was really happy with the result.  But -- she's got a little more planned.  BELIEVE me!

I love her twist on things!  She's not afraid to be an individual.  This girl has a really strong self-concept, and I'm praying that it will serve her well as she starts high school!  I know she's going to do great -- and will be a "bright light" wherever she goes!

Here's to summertime.  And crayons.  And loving the person God made you to BE!

Linking up here:

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