Friday, October 31, 2008

Preserving the Memories

Over the past week or so, Leah and I had been:

--Sorting through hundreds of photos taken over the past year
--Selecting nine photos of each of the girls that we meet with weekly
--Making 'review' slips
--Gathering together all of the supplies: paper, sheet protectors, photo corners, scissors, glue sticks, stickers, etc.

And what was the result?

Scrapbooking!

Which is what we did yesterday with the girls, and they had so much fun! Not only did each of the girls have photos to scrapbook, but they also had several colored slips of paper with qualities that we have learned about printed on them as well as an accompanying Scripture verse . . .


Fears the Lord

"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." Proverbs 31:30



Obedient

--is to be submissive to authority; yielding compliance to commands or orders; performing what is required, or abstaining from what is forbid.

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." Ephesians 6:1


Gracious

A heart of caring for others


"A Gracious woman attains honor . . ." Proverbs 11:16a

A gracious young lady speaks:
-Sweet words that edify
-Kind words that comfort
-Warm words that sympathize
-Sincere words that encourage
-Honest words that shun deceit
-Words that show mercy and compassion
-Words that show humility and gentleness
-Words that are loving, kind and unselfish*


Hospitality

"Be hospitable to one another without complaint." 1 Peter 4:9


Gentle and Quiet Spirit

"Your adornment must not be merely external - braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God." 1 Peter 3:3-4


Love and Service

"Through love serve one another . . ." Galatians 5:13


The scrapbook pages are all completed now and next week the girls will be writing in them, putting the pages in sheet protectors and then making them into a 'book' (we use ribbon to tie the pages together). They are looking forward to that!


*Taken from the book Dear Princess by Mary M. Landis - while we do not agree with everything in the book, many portions of it
(such as this one) have been a blessing to us.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Morning Frost

The sun's rays were just beginning to penetrate through the trees this morning when I took a walk and enjoyed and photographed the beauty of the first frost of the season . . .

A leaf from our Sweetgum Tree edged in frost

The sun's rays lighting up the brilliantly colored leaves of the Tulip Poplar and Oak trees

At one point a small flock of Canada Geese flew by . . . how I love their call! This time of year the numbers of geese seen and heard increases quite a bit . . .


The Oregano

"Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God . . . He gives snow like wool; He scatters frost like ashes."
Psalm 147:1 and 16


Monday, October 27, 2008

Fun Times

Yesterday afternoon, Leah and I had a wonderful time playing with the children of one of the families that we home church with. Hide and seek was the game of choice this time which is always fun to do, but yesterday it was especially so! When the three year old hid, it was generally in a rather obvious place as she thinks that if she cannot see us, that we cannot see her :) . . .

Hiding underneath the blanket that was on the bed

We'll walk around asking aloud things like: Is she behind the door? Is she in the closet? To which she'll verbally answer 'no'. :) When we finally 'guess' right, she'll jump up and laugh so happily, that you cannot help but laugh with her.


After Leah and I played several rounds of this with the two oldest girls, I spent some time with their eight-month old little sister who is such a sweetie! She was in quite a cheerful mood yesterday (which is rather normal! except for perhaps when her mommy leaves the room :) and was laughing, smiling, 'talking', and waving. Needless to say, I greatly enjoyed that time with her! Children are indeed a great blessing from the Lord, and how thankful we are for the precious ones that we have the opportunity to know!

On a different note, we had our first freeze of the season last night with another harder one forecasted for tonight (27 degrees!). So last evening, I picked the few remaining peppers and all of the tomatoes that were still on the vines . . .


Now we'll be able to enjoy tomatoes for at least a little while longer. :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

In the Sewing Room

We were unable to have girls group yesterday as Leah was sick . . . thankfully she is beginning to feel better today! Without having that yesterday and with rainy weather, I (along with Leah when she felt up to it) have spent quite a bit of time in the sewing room. This part of my life I have not shared much about on here, so I thought it would be fun to give you a peak into the sewing room . . .

The above wooden stand was picked up at a garage sale, and we make good use of it in the sewing room! Right now one of the racks holds interfacing while the other two are full of fabrics to be sewn into garments and some fabrics that were picked up at garage sales and thrift stores so we do not know what will be made out of those yet. :) (The rack is not large enough to hold all of the fabrics, though; and all the customer fabrics are kept somewhere else too.)

This little shelf is yet another garage sale find, and our favorite part about it is that it easily holds the measuring tapes! Before that, we had a quite a time trying to keep them organized and untangled.

Our sewing room (or area!) is actually a part of our bedroom - the room is rather long so one half is for Leah and I and the other half is for sewing. With that, our beds are often used to lay the "garments in progress" on such as in the above photo. Isn't the fabric lovely? Leah is making a jumper with it, and I just love how fallish it looks!

With all the sewing we do, a lot of thread has been accumulated over the years . . .

Blue definitely seems to be the popular color! Though pink (which is on a different rack) comes in a close second.

Sewing away . . .

This is where all the actual sewing takes place . . . it is a nice little area, and it is quite enjoyable when both Leah and I get to sewing right next to each other! What fun times we have together. :)

And while we're on the topic of sewing, I'd like to share with you two of my favorite, though rather unconventional, sewing 'tools' . . .

The dowel makes turning ties a breeze, and the large knitting needle works great for pushing out the points in collars, bodice fronts and the like. Do you all have any favorite sewing tools or tips you would like to share? If so, please do! I would love to hear. :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Celebrating a Birthday

Yesterday was the 26th birthday of my dear brother, Ryan. It is sometimes difficult to believe how old all of us kids are getting! ;) I think back on all of the fun times that we had together as kids building forts in the woods, playing our invented 'tracking game' through the snow, climbing trees . . . the things we do together have changed as we have gotten older, but the relationship has only become stronger and deeper. There are many things that I am thankful for in my brother, but what has been perhaps the greatest blessing to me is his wisdom. So many times I go to him for counsel or advice; or if I am doing something that would not be pleasing the Lord, Ryan will come to me and very gently and wisely show me my error. I am so thankful for the brother that the Lord has blessed me with!

We were unable to celebrate Ryan's birthday until the evening as he had to work, but once he
got home, we had the pleasure of seeing him open his gifts (the majority of which were tools :), visiting together, and sharing a special meal. All in all, it was a wonderful evening!

Today has continued the trend of busyness, but most of that has just bee
n regular day to day tasks. Mom, though, has been doing some deep cleaning and the areas she worked on look so nice! It is amazing what a thorough scrubbing of floors and walls and such will do to brighten up a room!


This afternoon, I took a few moments to put together a dried flower arrangement utilizing the flowers and grasses that had been dried earlier this year . . .

Dried Larkspur

Dried Wild Grasses

The finished product!

Now I need to redo the arrangement that is in our downstairs bathroom . . . the mums and goldenrod are beginning to look a little drab!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Bit of This and That

It seems like many of the trees in our woods have decided to die and fall over at the same time so Dad has been busy chain sawing. We have also been doing quite a bit of clearing of trees and brush near where the vegetable garden is so that we can have a place to hopefully put in berries next year. All of this makes for large brush piles waiting to be burned! Unfortunately on our place there is not really a safe area to burn the whole pile so we have to take the longer and more tedious way of burning in barrels. Dad and Mom spent an enjoyable Saturday afternoon doing that and made quite a bit of headway.


Saturday afternoon/evening Ryan went hunting again at his place and saw only one deer. A beautiful six-point buck came up about ten yards from his stand . . . in parts of Missouri though (including where we live), a buck must have at least 4 points on one side in order for it to be legally harvested. So Ryan had the pleasure of watching the deer for quite some time, but unfortunately did not have any meat to bring home.

While these activities were going on, Leah was in the sewing room working on a jumper for herself, and I was out gathering leaves (by raking and using our push mower and bagger) and spreading them in the garden. Dad had tilled up a large portion of the garden earlier, and I was to cover it with leaves which
he will then till in. For the past few months, Leah has been putting leaves in the chicken pen for them to scratch around in (in an effort to keep them occupied so they would stop pecking on one another!), so I also raked all those up and spread them in the garden too. That will be good fertilizer! Once all that was done, there needed to be more leaves raked up and put back into the chicken pen. How they enjoyed scratching around in the fresh leaves! They are so fun to watch. :)

The deer sure have been enjoying some of the plants in the vegetable garden. The green beans especially, but yesterday morning most of the tops of the lettuce plants were eaten off also.


Too bad the deer only come through at night otherwise Ryan could hunt here and probably be able to get one or two! :)

The pasture next to us sure is looking beautiful! Many of the trees are quite bare now, but there are still a lot of them that still have their leaves . . .


Fall is definitely here, but some of our flowers insist on continuing to bloom. I do not mind that in the least! :)


I was surprised to see a bee on one of the flowers today . . .


And slowly but surely work has continued on a table runner I have been working on . . .


I pieced it out of fabric scraps last fall, but never finished it. I pulled it out awhile back, layered it with backing and batting and began hand quilting it. I am rather slow at hand quilting, but so far have all of the stars quilted (there are three of them). I plan to quilt the outlines of a few leaves in the 'empty spaces' around the stars and then it will be ready to finish! And hopefully before fall is over this year. :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tagged!

Awhile back, I was tagged by Natasha to list six random facts about myself . . . so here are a few (hopefully interesting!) things that you all probably do not already know :) . . .

1. I am very allergic to poison ivy (though, not to the extent that my brother is). So from quite a young age my parents not only taught us what poison ivy looks like, but also trained us to stay away from it while playing in the woods. And if we happened to forget . . . well, we paid for it with a couple of weeks of faces, arms and/or legs, swollen, red and very itchy!

2. I wear contacts (as do my brother and sister) and have for about five years. (Before that, I had worn glasses since third grade.)

3. I do not like amusement parks (or anything similar) in any form or fashion. Not only do they make me feel sick just watching the rides whirl and fly around, but it just isn’t something that I enjoy. I would much rather be with my family hiking on some lone, winding path through the woods or mountains, or walking along a river birdwatching, or fishing on the banks of a quiet lake or stream, or any other number of things in the outdoors.

4. I love to sing with my sister! She has a beautiful voice and generally sings the melody (and occasionally accompanies us on the guitar) while I sing the alto. As my singing voice has a rather narrow and lower range, my Mom began teaching me to sing alto several years ago. Not an easy task given the fact that I do not have an ‘ear’ for music. But little by little, I am learning!

5. I have gone squirrel hunting before with my family. I did shoot at one, but the intended target simply looked at me and scampered off. (Need I mention that I am a terrible shot? Granted, I have not had a lot of practice, but still . . .)

6. I have fainted once in my life (my Dad caught me right before I hit the ground!), and my family will never let me forget it. :) Let’s just say that when I was coming to, I shared a quite ridiculous (in my opinion) reason of why I fainted. My family still takes me literally on that, and teases me on occasion about it. ;)


If any of you readers would like to do this, consider yourself 'tagged'! :)

Here are the rules:
• Link to the person who tagged you.
• Post the rules on your blog.
• Write Six Random Things about yourself.
• “Tag” six-or-so other people at the bottom of your post
• Leave comments on their blogs, letting them know they’ve been tagged.
• Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve written the post.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Beautiful Day

What a fun day we had with the girls yesterday! The sun was shining brightly, and the temperature was hovering near 60 degrees . . . perfect weather to go leaf gathering! We all headed outdoors with a couple of baskets, eager to look for and gather beautifully colored fall leaves. We spent most of our time in our front yard, but also enjoyed a pleasant walk down our driveway in search of more leaves.




As it was a lovely day and all the girls had been able to come, we decided to take a group photo utilizing an old stump as a camera stand.

Everyone was figuring out where to stand while I set up the camera for this . . .

I did not realize until after putting the photos on the computer that there was a gap in the middle of our group! Oh well! At least we are all in the photo with our eyes open and smiles on our faces!

After we had gathered a large number of leaves in differing shades of green, orange, red, yellow and even pink, we went inside to press them . . .



And then it was time for our lesson which was about the proper heart response to discipline. Using the project we had just done as an analogy, helped to lay the foundation of the lesson . . .

Our lesson went something like this:

"If we did not press the leaves, what happens to them?" (They dry and shrivel and lose their color). The leaves have to be pressed (have pressure applied) in order to be shaped and dried to come forth beautiful. Similarly, in order for ourselves to be refined and shaped, we need something similar, called training and discipline. If we do not receive discipline and training, we become very much like the leaf that is not pressed . . .


The leaf that is not pressed is dried, shriveled, brown and crumbly, and is not at all beautiful to look at, nor is it useful for very much of anything.

We then asked the question, "has anyone ever been disciplined by your parents?" Of which, everyone answered "yes". We talked a little bit about how it is sometimes difficult to take the discipline; how we often may become angry, resentful, roll our eyes, or some other such thing. We then read Hebrews 12:9-11 and discussed all three verses:

Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”

The discipline that our parents and the Lord give to us is for our good.
They love us and are seeking to help train us. "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). By disciplining and training us, our parents are being obedient to the Lord and are helping us to be more obedient to Him. It may not be comfortable (just as the leaf would not be very comfortable between all those pages with a stack of books on it!), but it is for our good. Scripture even says that discipline is sorrowful, but how we respond to that discipline is the key.

In Scripture, God gives specific instruction regarding how we should respond to the discipline of our parents:

Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days.” Proverbs 19:20

A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke
Proverbs 13:1

A fool rejects his father’s discipline, but he who regards reproof is sensible.”
Proverbs 15:5

We discussed all of these verses and presented the stark contrast between the wise one who accepts discipline and the foolish one who rejects it. We then asked the girls what they thought would be the proper heart response when our parents discipline us. It was mentioned to be obedient and, we also brought up about love, respect, submission, and thanksgiving.

At the conclusion of the lesson, I shared with the girls some of my own experience with this when growing up. How so often when my parents disciplined me, I did not appreciate it and often resented it. But now, looking back, I am so very grateful for all that they did to teach and train me! And I wish that my heart had been more receptive on many of these occasions. I also shared that over time, I was able to learn to be thankful for the discipline that they gave me and then strove to tell them so each time after they had given me instruction. We then encouraged the girls to respect, honor, love and obey their parents, even if they do not understand; for as they respond properly to the discipline and training, they will bring forth the beauty of godly character just as the leaf when removed from the pressure of the pages of the book, is beautiful to behold and useful for many a thing.

After the lesson was completed and the girls had written in their journals, we had quite a bit of time left so we enjoyed several rounds of the button game together . . .



We also did our bottle toss, Scripture verse review game and went through:

1 Peter 3:3-4: "Your adornment must not be merely external - braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God."

Proverbs 31:27: "She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness."

and . . .

Proverbs 31:30: "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised."

And once we were finished with that, there was time for the girls to cross-stitch a bit before heading home . . .


Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Recipe . . .

This delicious chowder recipe was shared with us several years ago, and it is one that we quickly grew to enjoy! As the days are becoming cooler, it is feeling very much like "soup season" (it was 38 degrees this morning!). So last evening I made the chowder and doubled the recipe so there was enough left over for tonight also. (Sorry, there is not a photo of it!)

Ham Chowder


--2 cups peeled diced potatoes

--1 cup chopped celery

--1 cup chopped carrots

--1/4 cup chopped onion

--salt and pepper to taste

--1/4 cup margarine or butter

--1/3 cup flour

--2 cups milk

--1 cup Velveeta cheese

--Diced Ham

--1 can whole corn, drained


Place potatoes, celery, carrots, onion and seasonings in Dutch oven. Cover with water and cook until nearly done. Do not drain. In another kettle, melt margarine and add flour. Heat until bubbly. Slowly add in milk while stirring. Cook and stir until thickened. Add cheese and allow it to melt. Slowly stir this cheese mixture into the vegetables. Add ham and corn and allow to heat. Do not boil. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Finishing the Canning

Today has been a rather cozy and relaxing day spent mostly indoors as rain has been gently falling for the majority of the day. As I type, I can hear the roosters crowing outside, and I am beginning to smell the delicious scent of baking pumpkin pie. Yesterday was also a rainy day and was spent mostly either catching up on some computer work or in the kitchen . . .

As mentioned in an earlier post, there were still quite a few apples left and so yesterday, I canned applesauce and then four more pints of apple butter.


This apple canning experience went a bit smoother than Saturday's canning as I had a better idea of how long things took to cook down, how much water to add, etc. Overall, it was very enjoyable! So the total numbers of everything put up come to . . .

In the freezer: Apples cut up and bagged
(thanks to Leah!) ready to be used to make :
--8 pies
--4 Apple Crisps
--3 batches of Apple Muffins

Canned we have:
--13 pints Apple Butter
--11 pints of Applesauce

How thankful we are for the blessing of all those apples!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Wonderful Weekend

The past two days have been packed full with many different activities of which I will attempt to briefly describe . . . :)

Saturday morning began fairly early as Mom, Leah and I had several errands to run and also wanted to go to one of our favorite garage sales. Twice a year the senior center in town has a sale and in addition to all the household items, furniture, books, and the like, they also usually have lots of craft items . . . perfect for us!

We arrived at the sale and were greeted by several cheery, elderly ladies there who said that they were having a 'sack sale' - everything you can fit in a grocery sack for $3.00. This is what we came away with . . .


Lots of crochet thread, 6 completed hand-crocheted doilies (still attached to the rolls of thread), eyelet and lace trims galore, fabric, sewing patterns and notions, books, and more! We tightly packed our sack with treasures and ended up having a few things that did not fit so the total came to a little more than $3.00 for all of the above.

Here is one of the beautiful doily's:


After we arrived home and got everything put away, Mom headed out to paint another side of the chicken coop and Leah and I started in on the apples. In addition to the two big bags of apples given to us by a friend, the lady we are growing the green beans for gave us a whole big box of apples. What a blessing! Leah worked on cutting up apples for the freezer to be used in pies and other desserts, and I canned 10 pints of apple butter (an exciting first for me!). We began around 12:30 in the afternoon and called it a day around 8:30. We still have a lot of apples left, so tomorrow I am planning to try to make and can applesauce, too.

Cutting apples

Apples soaking in the lemon juice/water mixture (to keep them from browning).

Canning the last few jars . . . finally nearing the end.

Sunday was another enjoyable, refreshing day! During the morning and early afternoon was our time with brothers and sisters in the Lord which was special (as usual! :). After we had shared the afternoon meal together and visited for awhile, our family headed home to pick up our cameras and tripod to head out to Ryan's place for a photo shoot (we were needing an updated family photo. :)

It is always difficult to find the "perfect" location so we all spread out on a portion of his land to see what we could find . . .

Dad, Mom and Ryan

Me heading to the woods to see if a good location could be found there

Mom carrying Ryan's camera bag while Leah used his camera to take some photos


Then Ryan thought he found "The Perfect Spot" . . . we all agreed that it was very nice! But it was back a ways in the woods so we needed to 'tramp' down the grasses and brush in front of the area. While Ryan and I did that, Dad looked through the camera to find the best angle to take the photo from.


After that, the camera was attached to the tripod; everyone figured out where they were going to stand; I adjusted the camera settings, set the self-timer and then the photo shoot began! We had so much fun together, and I got my exercise running back and forth from the camera! And we even got a photo where all of us were smiling and had our eyes open! :)


(If you would like to see a larger image of the family photo, simply click on it. :)

Then I took a few more 'impromptu' photos of Mom and Dad (Ryan's great idea :) . . . this was our favorite . . .


Before we headed for home, Leah and I took quick photos of each other . . .

Leah

Me

How I love spending times such as this with my family! And what better location than out in the beautiful outdoors. :) While we were out at Ryan's, he showed us where he had set up his tree stand (which he is using for archery season). During rifle season, he will use a ground blind made with some of his hay bales, and he said that it looks like Leah and I will be able to go with him again this year! I am quite excited about that! (I do not hunt, but very much enjoy going with him when he does. :)

Ryan also showed us the progress that he had made on the gate going into his property. He is working on putting the posts in now which is quite a job and will take him at least several evenings to finish. So far it is looking quite nice!

The drive home was very beautiful! The sun would peak through the clouds from time to time lighting up the bluffs. The colors are beginning to change, and combined with the clouds and sunlight, it provided quite a feast for the eyes on the way home . . .


And so concluded our delightful (and busy!) weekend . . .