Quiet and common notions...shared here...with you! Of life ~ our hearts and our home.

Monday, June 29, 2009

And with this ring...

I don't share this picture, with you, to brag...but here goes. Yes! this is my engagement ring. Not in its original form though, you see I've always wanted a piece of heirloom jewelry. I have always liked pearls. Not that I wear, wear them, but on special occasion I would certainly choose pearls over other stones. My original diamond ring was a ring that my Mother-in-law had bought for herself years ago. She sold the ring to Scott when he proposed to me... so really, in a sense, it has started the path to being an heirloom. I liked it. It was now mine. But, I often thought how I would really like to add two pearls on either side of the diamond - just because - it would REALLY be me. I didn't mention it very often because I knew it would cost a pretty penny... and it seemed even, somewhat frivolous. I never dreamed it would happen.

So, while down in VA, this past time... we needed to go into the store where the ring was first purchased and have my original setting looked at because one of the prongs seemed bent. While there my husband, who is Mr. Financial Right On (bless his heart), can also be Mr. Spontaneity -full-of-Surprises, says to Regina, behind the counter, "... and with this ring... we would like to add two pearls, one on each side of the diamond... what can you do for us?". They weren't sure, but would check into it. A day and a half later...they called, and said it was ready for pick up.
Let me tell you... I cried when I saw this ring being handed to me across the counter. I even made Regina tear up. I didn't try to make her cry. It just really blessed me to know that with this ring I will always have a memory, and a moment of "gasp"(times two, the first being at proposal), plus lots of tears. Now, I can say that the two pearls represent my two children. Not because pearls are their birthstones (though pearl is mine) but because they really are two precious souls. If only folks would stop asking; "What are you going to do if you have more children?". My answer. I guess that possibility remains to be seen.
I just want to add a little dialogue that took place as I tried on the ring in the store. As I slipped it onto my finger, I said, "aah, this is like getting married all over again", the customer standing next to me says "humph, and that's supposed to be a good thing?" and I said "YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes it is a good thing. And I would say, I would marry this man all over again. Not because I am caught up in the emotion of this gift he has given me, this moment of spontaneity that has taken place, but because of who he his, and of who I've become as his wife... because of us. We are ONE! With this ring, I thee wed... because. I love this man.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Beautiful Feet - without the pedicure

The other day I had an appointment to get my hair cut and to have a pedicure done. I was SO EXCITED!! I decided it would be okay to get a few highlights added - but my thoughts were really towards the pedicure.

You see. I have (based on my own opinion) horrible feet... I'm a barefoot kind of girl, all day long. My feet are calloused and rough around the edges, however, I do paint my own toenails, on occasion, but I am not particular about my feet like I should be and I certainly don't have a clue how other people can take so much time on their [own]. I admire them for that, but it's a losing battle for me. So, all in all, pedicures come every now and then for me as my long anticipated treat to myself.

 And, this was going to be special.

Let me back up a bit into the story. I have a friend from church who is a hairdresser. She has done my hair in the past (again, even haircuts are not the regular happening for me) and I like how she cuts my head of curls. Becky is new to this particular salon in our area, and so word was out that if you go to this particular store, as a new client, anything done by her would be half price. However, Becky doesn't do pedicures. I knew that but I didn't realize all that was assumed. I somehow was under the impression that anything done in the store as a first time customer would be 50% off... but, no. Rather, it was any service done by Becky.

This is where I want to honor my friend and sister in the Lord. She had quickly realized the situation - my misunderstanding- and brought it to my attention. She tried hard to see if the store would honor the said quote/my misunderstanding. I was also trying to quickly tally up everything in my head of what would be the cost.... I only had $60.00 to work with... because that is what was budgeted. The cut & wash was $13.00 and any foils (for highlights) were going to be $1.50 each. Not bad at half price. The pedicure was going to be another $35. Ahhh!! I didn't have enough money. The temptation started in on how was I going to explain this one to my hubby, how could I swing it, because I really wanted the pedicure over highlights, which by now, at this point, was WAY TOO LATE, as I had foils hanging off my head in all directions.

I decided I really needed to call my man. When Becky comes over, apologizes and says; "Bev, you know your finances. You should really call your husband and ask him what he would have you do". I called and we (Scott and I) agreed that if I can cancel the appointment for the pedicure, to go ahead and do that and "sorry... but we misunderstood". That is exactly what happened.

My testimony is and in looking back - I just had to "thank" Becky for encouraging me to honor my husband (even though I missed out on a great pedicure, this time around) in efforts of communicating with him about the situation, and in doing my part to stick to our budget. She totally understood. She said her husband would be & appreciate the same. I left there feeling so good because of my decision. It was an easy one, too, because of her encouragement to respect my husband by calling him first and to inform him before going through on my temptation to reason and rationalize away the results of misinterpretation.

For the first time, in a long time, I feel like I have really beautiful feet. Make any sense??

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday's Finds - What "A" quandary!

The other day I was busy around the house moving boxes and yes, still unpacking a few others. When, at about the same time, as I had this one box in my hands, loaded full of canning jars, (which actually contained applesauce and peaches) I heard this somewhat strange cry-out from Aubrey... uhmmm.

...and "OH, NO!", my box started to lose it's bottom... I quickly lowered the box to the floor, but, as you guessed, I was too late. One of the jars didn't survive the crash. Applesauce and glass onto the carpet, as you can see. I ran to the other room to find Aubrey sitting quite sheepishly in this antique tin washtub. At least she wasn't crying anymore, and she was contained. ;0)

How in the world she got in there - I'm not exactly sure - and I don't know if big brother had anything to do with it or not, because I didn't see it happen. It just made me chuckle. So off to find the camera and take a picture, or two, of the 4pm "Applesauce and Aubrey" quandary I found myself in.
Needless to say, I left her in there while I cleaned up the applesauce mess. Neither she, nor Caleb seemed to mind as they both were having a blast... I thought it was absolutely adorable.
: : The tin washtub, one of my favorite finds, is something I inherited (so to speak) from my grandparents and is eventually intended to hold several large decorative throw pillows - whenever I get around to making them. Sigh. One of these days...
Another quandary, perhaps?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Quilt Ideas - anyone?

While in VA this past week... my Mother-in-law, Susie, asked me to help her go through several bags of fabrics and clothes that she has been toting around from over the years. I was thrilled! Only to get really excited when she started pulling out all these patches that were hand sewn together by her mother, Ruth, (who was, by far, the most beautiful seamstress I have ever "known" - I only wish I could have met her in person, but she passed away long before I came into the family). There are even several cut out scrap peices left over that I can continue piecing together more patches, of the same, if I want too.

All that to say, I just laid these all out on the floor to see what we had to work with... and I know that there is certainly something more creative I could do with the design. And so I'm asking for some ideas.

First off, does anyone know what the pattern itself might be called? And secondly, if you do recognize the pattern... What types of unique designs are out there?

: : On a side note, these patches are all individually hand sewn together, mostly made of vintage and feed sack type fabrics. Susie had many memories of the different fabrics... like as from a blouse, shirt or PJ's of either hers or her siblings. It was a fun day, now another fun project awaits...

Oh, and wait till I show you the other quilt that she gave me. It's called "Grandmother's Flower Garden". Again, it's hand sewn together - just not completed. Pictures will be coming later.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Toffee Brownie Bites

Warning: These brownies are just a tad bit DELICIOUS!! and need a hot, steemy cup of coffee or a very tall glass of frothy, cold milk, in order to go down well. Enjoy!
Remove Formatting from selection ~Toffee Brownie Bites~

4 1-0z. squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use Whole Wheat)
1/2 tsp salt
Mix & Reserve for top:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup toffee baking bits
Melt Chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat; stir until smooth. Cool for 5 minutes. Combine chocolate mixture, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl; beat for one minute with a electric mixer on high speed.
Beat in flour and salt on low speed for 30 seconds; beat on medium for one minute. Spread half of mixture in 9"x13" baking pan that has been greased on the bottom only. Spread filling over top; carefully spread remaining brownie mixture on top. Gently swirl through layers with a knife to marble; sprinkle with reserved nuts and toffee mixture. Bake at 350* for 45 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into small squares; keep chilled (although I prefered them at room tempature). Makes 3-4 dozen
2 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup toffee baking bits
Beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until smooth. Stir in nuts and toffee.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"I like red beards, and I cannot lie"

~Like Father, Like Son~
Do you think maybe dinner was a hit that night??
Can you guess what we had?? Uhmmm...
: : Photo left untouched. Sorry about the red eyes there on Caleb.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Such Labor of Love

My Mother's Day gift, this year, was "helping to do the flowerbeds" - which I was all over that. I said, "I would rather have the gift of time and hands helping then a bouquet of cut-flowers, any day".

So, with seeds in hand... we planted just a few things, as you can tell.

But, I didn't have anything to show for it - as the seeds hadn't started sprouting yet. To my surprise, my mother calls me the other afternoon and said that she was planning to go to a local greenhouse, located right around the corner from our place, that she would like to take me along and that my brother's would watch the little ones... Would I like to go along??? Absolutely. Only to realize, after awhile, that this was my birthday gift from her to me. I love my Mom!!

And, my son... here he is trying, so hard, to help. He's doing very well at it, too. I just hope he enjoys it as much when he's older. My little buddy... with garden tools, dirt and a little bit of elbow grease, oh I hope that The growing should go well...

"Hey Janelle, I planted FOUR tomato plants and ONE basil!!! I just thought you might like to know". (Sorry, just a little inside joke here.)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Prayer Request...

Just wanted to share with you all, the seemingly sudden passing away of my Father-in-law, Scott's Dad, yesterday afternoon. Although we were expecting it at some point because he did have cancer (long story), it's just not the thing you expect to hear first thing in the AM from an Aunt of Scott's who we haven't talked to in over 3 years.

Scott and I (of course, the little ones too) plan to take a trip to VA -probably Monday, for the rest of the week. Please pray for us, as we travel. That it would go smoothly with the kiddos and for safety, as well. Also, pray for Joan (Scott's step-mom), for this is only the toughest thing that one can go through. One can never, ever fully be prepared for this.

We are doing okay (as good as can be expected), but there is that "hope" - we can only hope that he is with the Lord. At least if he is HOME with the Lord, well, then "the Grandpa's" at least get to meet each other for the first time.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday's Finds - Me on My Birthday Adventure!

I mentioned that I would let you all know how my birthday adventure (in Lancaster) went. It was absolutely wonderful!! And over way too soon..

I had said that I had a long "to do, to go" list... and that was true... but it was all, more or less, a mental list. When I left the hotel, Wednesday AM, I wasn't exactly sure where I would start - much less where I would end up. I had my little yellow, not-to-scale, free map of Amish Farmlands with me and I was good to go (not that I really needed to use that, but hey!).

By the way, the hotel was a surprise (for both of us) in that when we got there, to check in, for some reason the room got upgraded for FREE! to a two-room suite. Need I say the night was sweet, too! ;)

Anyway, as mentioned, I wasn't 100% sure of my route... so I decided on a general area that I wanted to shop in and around and just followed my nose. By the looks of the picture you're likely to think -" What in the world did she buy?" A little of this, and a little of that, is all, because we've had the list growing in our heads of stuff we needed for the house. I found it all pretty much at this one-stop Amish store called Country Housewares. In case you're wondering what is in the black bag - that would be Scott's Father's Day gift...shhh!

I had several things, in mind, that I wanted to find. One being, a Butter Crock. Not the type that has that egg shaped thing, hanging from the lid, where you put the butter inside that and then put that piece upside down into the remaining part of the crock.... No! I wanted just a plain small crock, with a lid. In asking around, one lady mentioned about using a type of jar that uses a metal clasp to keep the lid on, just as an idea. And sure enough, I ended up finding one in a little antique shop... It has become my favorite purchase of the day!!

The idea here is to "stretch my butter" by mixing one stick of butter with a 1/2 cup of olive oil and then we'll always have soft butter to have on hand for spreading on toast or dinner rolls, etc. Plus, the added bonus of having a healthier (frugal) option. I am so excited about this...

So, in case you're wondering - I ended up perusing Kitchen Kettle Village. And just because I could, I treated myself to a "great lunch"... a pretzel wrapped hot dog, Iced White Chocolate Cafe Mocha (to die for), a scoop of Lapp's Black Raspberry Ice Cream (my absolute favorite flavor)... and a few of their homemade kettle chips. Delish! I just thoroughly enjoyed myself there in the courtyard -the day was gorgeous, and people interesting.

But, after several more shops (including a few fabric shops - which I didn't buy any fabric, can you believe that?) and because I was on a bit of a time restraint... I had to go back to the hotel to pick Scott up from the business meeting that he had going... sigh! Often though, throughout the day I wished he was with me - just so that he could enjoy what I was enjoying. It was wonderful gift! Just me...

Later, after "dragging" Scott (he really did go willingly) through the Flower & Craft Warehouse, we ended up at Shady Maple Smorgasbord for dinner. They have this thing where if you go on the day of your birthday - your meal is FREE! It is really overboard what you get to choose from off the 140 feet, of homemade goodness... and the regular price, per person, is really not that bad. Worth checking out if you ever find yourself in Lancaster County, PA.

It was time to head home. I missed my babies. They were sweetly waiting for us when we arrived back at our friends, to pick them up. Little Aubrey had, had a slight fever the whole time as she is cutting her top tooth, and Mr. Caleb was his usual, busy-boy self. I was so proud of them, both, for hanging in there, in all of it's unfamiliar territory (as an overnight stay) and for simply doing exceptional all around. It was good to be home, as a family, once again.

I just really, really enjoyed the gift of "TIME to myself" that was given to me. It was so refreshing and needed. I think I had a wonderful, wonderful birthday. Thank you, babe!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I'm trying, I'm trying

My real life friend, Christy, inspired this thought on her blog yesterday.... My response in comment form was; "I'm trying, I'm trying".

She was referring to Mother's getting out and having fun - as much as littles ones need to do. I got to thinking "that is exactly what I'm getting to do later today and tomorrow". Needless to say I am really, really excited.

Although this has been planned for a little while now, the blessing of it (happening) is just now sinking in. Scott needs to go to Lancaster, PA for business, on Wednesday. Which just happens to be on my birthday. So, he has made arrangements to take a half day today, to have the kiddo's go to friends of ours for the rest of today, overnight and all day Wednesday, and I get to go along!! and go shopping... ALL BY MYSELF. Can this really be happening? I have to pinch myself...

When I first read Christy's post I got to thinking about what would be fun for me (to do) and when she said, "start a project, finish a project", I was like; "Oh honey, where do I begin in that area, there are so many project's going on - I'm not sure which to start first... but I'm trying, I'm trying".

But, planning and going to Lancaster for a day and half with out the little ones! Ahhh, now this is good. I admit that sounds a bit selfish too. But, I think it will be so refreshing. So needed. I will have to let you know how the adventure turns out. Believe me when I say my "to do, to go" list is long... and I hope to get it all done, but I doubt that will happen.

I just love my husband in that he has thought of this and has decided to 'bless me' in this way. Thank you, thank you , thank you. It's probably the most anticipated, and simply the best birthday gift ever given...

Monday, June 8, 2009

A few pots of earth

. ... ... .. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .. .. .. .. ... . ..
"Don't let artificial light and city streets keep you from noticing sunsets and sunrises, from experiencing the spring of new life and the harvest of fall.
If you don't have a farm, at least have a window box,
or a few pots of earth".
~ M Basil Pennington
A place apart

I have been busy the last few days, outside, working with just a few pots of earth. It's been fun, but a bit difficult, especially with two little ones playing in and spilling the watering can, pulling fragile plants out of the box that are waiting to go into the dirt, grabbing the tools trying to "help", as well as even eating the ground, stones or grass, etc. Things eventually got planted, watered and are now slowly growing (well). But, it got really messy. I got impatient. I was in a hurry, trying to get the job done before the rain came...you know how it is.

My words seem so limited here, but it got me to thinking about us as people. You know, God is the Creator of life... and everyday He is "doing the process" of growing us. I wonder if He is seeing us, "the pots of earth", as vessels He can use. We are made of clay, earth, though we may feel unworthy, dirty, broken and at best, cracked.

 Often we may wonder how we can be of any use. At times, we may want to "help" do the work that God is doing. But, in that, we often get in the way. We'll often (more times then not) "quarrel with our Maker". It can get messy (or look messy, from our perspective) but thank God for his grace, goodness and patience when it calls for our growth and well-being.

Lord, I pray, help me to be that "Vessel of Honor", one that you can use. I come, today, as a broken clay pot of earth. Thank you for your patience with me...may I be able to hold (and do) all that you ask me to, to grow slowly... so that I will grow WELL. ~Amen.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Corners of my home - the Living Room!

"Every house where love abides And friendship is a guest Is surely home, and home, sweet home for there the heart can rest". ~Henry Van Dyke

As in continuation to the series; Corners of my Home! I got to thinking about what to say about this room, and well... not much came to mind other then, this is where we often gather in the evenings to read (God's Word) as a family. Where (tons of children's) video's are watched. Notice where our TV is hiding. Yup! In an old, antique buffet cupboard. That right there is a long story, in and of itself, which I won't get into right now. We honestly do not watch a lot of TV and so this is one way to keep it out of sight - out of mind. I have to give credit to my Dad on this one. Again, too long of a story...

The Living Room is one of my other favorite rooms (the first being the kitchen) of the house. I feel like my creativity gets to thrive here, in terms of where actual decor and vintage/antique treasures abound. A place where one will (hopefully) feel comfortable enough to rest and relax. Where "hospitality" is rampant. I will be honest. There are days when it feels like; "Oh, I hope no one steps a toenail into this house, because it is so chaotic around here with toys and what have you", only to remember my hopeful heart's motto of

"My house may not be ready but my heart is. Come on In!"

I love the top of the cabinet here. I don't know how well you can see these pictures, but...

This is where I have taken old, random jars and placed photo copies of old family "black and whites". I can't remember what magazine I found this idea in - but I am so glad I did. I think it is such a unique way to display old family photo's. And it certainly can be a great conversation piece. The pictures mostly consist of my parents wedding and then back through the years of my grandparents on both sides, along with my parent's as children and their siblings.

There is another nook to this living room that I don't have a picture of yet, basically because I'm still working on it. But, in reality, I feel like this is the corner that makes the living room even more unique. I'll try to post on this at a later time.

I'll leave you with another favorite quote of mine. It's actually a Jewish Home Blessing, but I think it is quite fitting for this post today.
"May its doors be open to those in need, and it's rooms be filled with kindness. May joy shine from its windows, And HIS presence never leave it."

I hope this to be true, in general, of our whole home. And not just our home(s), but our heart(s). I have had this thought come to me - at one point - and it's never left. And that is; to view my life as a house with glowing windows. Where when people look at me they can't help but see the light of Christ shining through! I really hope it's true.

I know there are obvious needs for attention to detail (ie; candles, picture in frames, or other accent peices) in our living room, here (I'm still working on it). But, one thing for sure is, I know that God is certainly paying great attention to detail when it comes to the matter of my heart. There is still room for improvement, and He knows that.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

a fresh bouquet of white...

Do you like what you see? I'm starting to, myself. Here's why...
This is the basket that usually sits on our dining room table, and (used to be) filled with my favorite paper napkins (I have this thing for a certain brand/style - they have to be a certain texture and weight. I still love this product). But we ran out of them, and since we do our major grocery shop once a month, I got inspired to come up with something else.
Here was my inspiration. Steph, from over at "Confessions of a Stay at home Mom", presented the idea and challenge to consider ways of going green. I gave it some thought (really quick, because I had to do something, with the lack of paper napkins, for dinner that night) and decided; Why not use REAL, LINEN napkins? Life is too short... to save them for "a rainy day" and "fancy-schmancy meals", down the road, even with little kids, at the table. I'll be honest, I will probably plan to keep a package of my favorite paper napkins for the "emergency picnic" that gets planned - you know... but, I am really liking the linen.
The question could be asked - "What goes for you charming or practical?" For me, I have to ask myself if it is really an effort of "going green" and finding small ways to help save a few bucks here and there? or is it, simply, because it is quite charming and that I just like to see the looks on friends and family's faces when I tell them to "go ahead and help yourself to a cloth napkin from the basket". All around, It's priceless...!
The other plus is that I actually have several others of these type of napkins that if there is a pile waiting to get thrown into the laundry (and bleached) that I have plenty others to keep the basket filled at all times. The ones you see here (rolled up in the basket) are approximately 24"x 24". I just fold it in half once and roll up, then I sorta fold that in half and let it just sit randomly in the basket, then as all eight napkins are placed in there it almost looks like ...
a fresh bouquet of white flowers is in the center of the table.
: : Photo : : These napkins were the best housewarming gift from my real life friend, Amiee. Thanks sista!! We'll see how these do on our dinner (of BBQ ribs) Friday night - You are still planning to come over, right?
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