Saturday, February 28, 2009

Finishing the Pies

We had another small group this week (some of the girls were unable to come due to sickness), and we finished the pies with the girls. They greatly enjoyed this and did a wonderful job!

Fluting the edges of the pie crusts

Stirring the apples together with the filling ingredients

Cutting butter into the topping ingredients

Putting on the topping

Leah cleaning up a spill (yes, we do have some of those! :)

And then as the girls who were unable to be here last week were here this week, we also repeated the lesson on not gossiping and to instead strive to speak only words for edification (Ephesians 4:29.)

Teaching the lesson - I think we were looking at the verse in 1 Timothy here

By the time the pies were in the oven, the lesson finished, and after working for awhile on memorizing Ephesians 4:29, we had quite a bit of time to cross-stitch and visit . . .

Leah helping one of the girls with her cross-stitch

Then the pies were done and the girls were able to sample their handiwork. It was delicious! They also were able to
each bring a quarter of a pie home to their families . . . they were so excited about that!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Making a Bible Cover

For some time now, I have been wanting to make a cover for my Bible, and I had a picture in my mind of what I desired it to be like. Though, trying to find a pattern for it turned out to be an unfruitful endeavor! So after sketching out a few simple (very simple :) drawings on paper and doing a bit of thinking, I embarked on making a Bible cover from 'scratch' . . .

The first order of business was to make a pattern . . .

Taking measurements

Then to pick out a fabric . . . for that I pulled out my boxes of fabric scraps, and quickly found one that fit with what I was envisioning. As the Bible cover was going to need some substance to it, and as I like the look of quilted fabric, I layered the fabric with batting and a navy blue fabric and quilted it . . .

The quilted fabric

Then came the actual construction . . .

Pinning the lace trim around the Bible cover edges
(last fall at a garage sale, we had gotten a bag full of various lace, trims, etc., and when looking for something to use for the cover, there turned out to be just enough of the above lace for it. :)

Getting closer! The lace and handles are now attached . . . the next step was making the edges with the zipper closure.

This project was a bit difficult at times and there were some mistakes made, but overall, I was pleased with the finished results . . . it will work anyway! :)

The finished outside of the cover

The finished inside of the cover

So that is a little project that I have been working on in the past few weeks. :) Have any of you been working on any craft, sewing, or other types of projects? If so, I would love to hear!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Another Year Older

*I had this post put together yesterday, but we had so much going on that I was unable to get it posted until today . . .

Yesterday marked the day when I turned another year older, and what a special day it was! From seeing the very sweet surprise birthday post on my blog in the morning to the wonderful time spent in the evening with my family, and then everything that was in between! Birthdays are always made to be such special days in our family, and I was incredibly blessed by my family's thoughtfulness and love shown to me yesterday (not that they do not do that always, though! :) The Lord has richly blessed me with giving me my very dear Dad, Mom, brother and sister!

During part of yesterday, Leah and I were able to spend a wonderful and fun time outdoors together in the afternoon walking and playing with our dogs, and we did get a few photos during that time together. It was a bit chilly and windy, but so nice to be outside! (We had Lassie out before all these photos were taken so that is why there are none of her this time. :)

Leah and Mandy (Mandy is holding one of her retrieving bumpers)

Mandy getting what she loves best . . . petting!

Leah the photographer :)

Mandy and I

We took a walk down our driveway together, and part way down, Leah wanted to get a photo of Mandy. She brought her over in the grass, had her sit, backed away, and then right when she wanted to take the photo, look what Mandy did . . .


She looked directly away from Leah! It was so hilarious! Leah did eventually get Mandy to look at her . . .


And then after the photo shoot, Mandy got even more petting . . . have I mentioned that she loves to be petted?!

If you look closely, you can see that she is standing on my boots - She likes to get as close as she can! :)

So that is a glimpse into a small part of my special day!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Today is the birthday of someone very special. Most of you know her simply as Sarah, the one behind the As Lilies blog - I know her as my sister and my friend.

Today Sarah turns 23 ye
ars old and when I look back over our 'sisterhood' it seems like just yesterday that we were playing dress up and romping through the woods. Growing up, virtually everything that we did, we did together. We were both so very different in our personalities, but then so much the same too. Sarah was outgoing, I was shy, but together we made quite a pair. And, oh the fun times we have had together! From building forts out in the woods, doing chores, 'sewing' clothes for our little dolls, we were (and still are!) the best of friends. And we got into our fair share of scrapes too . . . like when we had the brilliant idea of creating a treasure hunt only realizing too late that scratching clues into our hardwood bedroom floor was probably not such a good idea after all. (and they're still there to this day too!) Or the nights of talking long after we were supposed to be going to sleep - we thought that we could be quiet enough that no one would hear, but when whispers turned to giggles it wasn't long until Mom and Dad came to see what their little girls were up to.


As we've gotten older, our relationship has strengthened, deepened actually. Things that you take for granted when you're young are much more appreciated as you grow and mature. When we were young, I thought of Sarah as my sister, my friend, and my playmate; now she is my confidant, my advisor, and my dearest friend. Her strengths are often my weaknesses, and because of that I learn so much from her. Sarah is a very transparent person - what you see of her on this blog and the way that she portrays herself here, is who and what she truly is. She is one of the most servant hearted people that I know, always willing to give of herself to others, always seeking ways to bless those around her.

I can say though, that the greatest and most important things that I appreciate about Sarah, are in her day-to-day walk with Christ. She is so very passionate about the Lord and bold in sharing and holding to His truth. Even amidst ridicule or rejection, she holds strong, willing to follow our Lord no matter the cost. Sarah is a true student of Scripture and loves to learn and be challenged by it. Through the years of both blessings and trials, I have seen Sarah blossom into a beautiful woman of God and a dedicated follower of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So today, I want to wish a joy-filled birthday to my sister. And not just as my sister, but as my dearest and closest friend. I love you, Sarah, so very, very much!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Over the Weekend

Yesterday morning/afternoon, Leah and I had such a fun time with some of our young friends. Oh the joys of having little arms reach around you and give a loving squeeze . . . of having little girls piled in our laps with giggles and smiles as we played and teased together . . . of playing 'peek-a-boo' and seeing an adorable grin of delight in response . . . we are so blessed, so very blessed.

So that is a taste into my weekend . . . other events included things such as running errands in town with Mom and Leah and helping Ryan and Leah chase a chicken out of the pasture (she flew up into a fork in the trunk of one of the trees and escaped to the other side of our fence! Since then, Dad put something in the tree to stop any further adventures on her part.

Then there was sewing, and there always seems to be some cleaning to do . . .

Mom vacuuming

Yesterday, Ryan and I also spent some time together while he shared with me a bit of what he has been reading/learning about . . .


Not quite 'light' reading. :)

Brother/Sister times . . . so special!

We also had the pleasure of hearing some beautiful guitar music . . .


Ryan and Leah enjoy playing guitar hymn arrangements together (they take turns playing the melody parts and back-up parts), and we always enjoy listening to them!

Another event of the weekend was having our clothes dryer break, so it is back to using the clothesline (which we had planned to start using again come spring.) It takes quite awhile for clothes to dry when it is only about 30 degrees out, but it does sort of work! :) Well, for the most part anyway. The socks were still wet at the end of the day, so they finished drying in front of the space heater . . .


Dad has fixed our dryer before, and he thinks that he should be able to again, but until then, we are thankful for our "outdoor dryer" and space heater!

And now another week is ready to begin . . . it is difficult to believe that it is the last week of February! Then the calendar page will turn, and the lovely month that holds the first day of spring will be here. With that thought in mind, it seems fitting to close with one of our first tastes of this wonderful time of year . . .

The first daffodils have begun to appear!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Making of Pies

This week with the girls was a busy and fun one! The project we worked on together was making apple pies, but as pies take longer than the two hours we have together, this week the girls peeled and chopped all the apples and made the filling. Next week, they'll make the topping and bake the pies. They have asked us several times if someday we could make pies together, so they were so excited when they found out we were going to be doing it!

We always write the recipe up on this board so that all the girls can easily see it, and then they can also copy off of it when it is time to make their recipe cards.

We had a smaller group this week, and it ended up that we had the perfect number of 'stations' so that all the girls had something to do the entire time. Two of the girls worked on peeling the apples and the rest cored and chopped them on the cutting boards . . .


Leah showing two of the girls how to use the peelers

Peeling away

While Leah worked with the "peelers", I helped the "choppers" and showed them how to quarter the apples, cut off the cores and then chop them . . .


Chopping

Once we had twelve cups of chopped apples, it was time to combine the remainder of the ingredients for the filling . . .

Measuring ingredients

Stirring together the apples and the other filling ingredients

Spooning the filling into the pie crust (we used 'store-bought' crusts for the girls so that when they make pies at home it will be easier for them!)


In addition to making the pies, we had a lesson on not gossiping which was based upon 1 Timothy 3:11 which states:
Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.” There is also an identical command, to not be "malicious gossips", given in Titus 2 to older women. After reading this verse, we asked the girls what they thought a 'gossip' is. We then read and discussed the definitions of both 'gossip' and 'malicious':

Malicious is: harboring ill will or enmity without provocation

Gossip is: spreading negative true or false reports about another; a tattle-tale

We then read several verses in James, discussing each one in some detail before going on to the next:

Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire . . . " James 3:3-6a

Just as a small fire grows and brings great destruction; so can our words set a fire that grows and destroys/hurts others. Gossiping words fall under these types of words that destroy and hurt.

Instead of gossiping about others, what types of words should we be speaking?


Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)

We see from this verse that all of our words are to be for the purpose of edification
. And to edify another is to build them up and to encourage them. Those are the types of words that should leave our lips, not ones that are for the purpose of hurting or demeaning another.

It is important to remember, though, that what we speak comes from our hearts, for "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh" (Matthew 12:34.) Before we can honestly and consistently speak
words of love and edification, it must first be instilled in our hearts. We must first love the Lord (Mark 12:30), and then we must earnestly seek to develop love in our hearts for others in obedience to the Lord's command to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31.) To love them and edify them through the words that we speak . . .

Before speaking, we should ask ourselves, will this edify someone or hurt them? Am I saying it to encourage and build up others? Or to demean and hurt?

And as with all things, we need the Lord's help to speak true, right, and edifying words. In the Psalms, David prayed to the Lord entreating Him to:

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

This should be our prayer also! We should be asking the Lord to help us speak words that are pleasing to Him, words that encourage others instead of hurting them.

We concluded the lesson by summarizing all that we had discussed and then encouraging the girls to carefully guard their words and to seek to only speak words that edify instead of tear down. Overall, the discussion and thoughts that were shared during the lesson were very encouraging!


Besides the lesson and making pies, the girls had the opportunity to write a rec
ipe card, review our memory verses, write in their journals and cross-stitch . . .

Writing a recipe card

Cross-stitching

Then it was time to say goodbye, and the girls left with eager anticipation for next week when they will be able to finish the pies and then bring home some to their families!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thinking Of . . .

. . . Gardening!

The garden June 2008

Corn nearing harvest time this past summer

A harvest of beets

Last year's gardening season was so enjoyable and productive (and also tiring! :) We were thrilled with how much we were able to grow in a 'first year' garden (this was the first time to plant this area), and even with all the pests, way above average rainfall, etc., we harvested an abundance of produce. While I love gardening, I was glad when fall came and it was time to put the garden to bed for the winter. But now, after a few month's break, I am growing eager to once again be working the soil, planting, caring for plants, harvesting and pr
eserving. Before long, spring will be here and another gardening season will begin.

But before that happens, planning must first take place! Now has come the time to pull out the vast array of seed catalogs that have arrived in the mail over the past few months and also the written records of last year's garden . . .


Yes, the time has come to figure our seed order for this year! This is always such a fun thing to do, and I am looking forward to paging through seed catalogs with Mom and Leah and thinking, planning and dreaming of what to plant come spring . . .


In our family, we all have 'favorite' things that we like to grow (and eat!) My personal favorite is sweet corn . . . but I also love growing the vine crops . . . and root crops . . . and then there is the green beans . . . and of course the tomatoes . . . well, I guess I like growing just about everything! :)

So, what are your all's favorite things to grow (whether it be flower or vegetable)? And do you have a favorite variety of it? I look forward to seeing your all's answers! :)


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Putting Up a Fence

This morning found Leah and I outside putting up a fence in order to keep our chickens out of our neighbors' pasture when they are free-ranging. It was overcast, chilly, and very windy, but we still had a fun time together! Though, we did have to come inside a few times to warm up - especially our hands. We had to wear thin gloves while working in order to be able to do the things that we needed to do, and the gloves were not very warm!


Putting up the fence was a fairly simple process, but it still took quite a bit of time (and we have a bit more left to do.) As we went, we had to dig down some areas to make them more level, remove fallen branches, and cut out vines to make room for the fence.

Tools of the "trade" :)

Leah cutting the fencing so that we could get it to slide over
a big tree root that was in the way

We were using garden wire, and while Leah cleared the area and unrolled the wire, I would attach it to our side of the barbed wire fence with little wire ties (the fence, being built around trees, averages around a foot or so deep.) And as the trees that the fence is attached to have grown considerably since the fence was put up many years ago, we had to cut the fencing at each one and then resume on the other side of the tree.

Attaching the fencing to the barbed wire with wire ties

We fenced about 120 feet of the barbed wire fence, and we have a ways yet to go, but so far we are pleased with the results! And it should keep the chickens where they are supposed to be. That is, as long as they do not figure out that they can fly over it. :) So far, though, they have not attempted that in our other fenced areas so hopefully that will not be the case.

So that was the morning project! And then for part of this afternoon, Leah and I planned girls group for this week. We are going to be making apple pies with the girls which will be a fun (and involved!) project. We will also be looking at a few verses that warn against women being gossips, and then looking at verses that give instruction in what words we should be speaking. That is what we were talking about and planning here . . .


And now it is beginning to get dark outside which means that it is time for chores, so I best be off to take care of the animals . . .

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Finished Project

Leah has been working quite a bit on her cross-stitch in the evenings, and, a few days ago, she finished all the cross-stitching and back-stitching. Then came time to figure out where she wanted the verse, what kind of 'writing' to use, the layout, etc. She drafted it out on a pattern paper the way she wanted it, and then stitched it. The finished result is just beautiful . . .

I just love how this cross-stitch turned out! She did such a wonderful job on it!

The past several days have been very busy for our family! More so than normal anyway. :) On Saturday, one of the things that occupied Ryan and Leah's time was installing a timer in our chicken coop. Ever since we finished our coop, we have had a light that we have had to plug in each morning and then unplug each evening (not only for light in the coop, but also to extend the 'daylight' hours which improves laying during the winter months.) Now with the timer, the plugging in and unplugging is unnecessary which is nice!

Ryan attaching the electrical box

Leah rehanging the light

I took a break from sewing to go out and document their installation adventures :), and then headed back to the sewing room . . . I have a lot of sewing to do over the next few weeks and Leah also has some projects that she has been wanting to do, so it has been fun to be up working in the sewing room together. Today found us both there again, and we were able to accomplish quite a bit (plus we had a wonderful time together. :)

Leah sewing away . . .

We have many things planned for the rest of the week (including more sewing) so it looks like the busyness will be continuing! One of the projects in the works is setting up a wire fence on our side of the barbed wire fence (which divides our property from the neighbors' pasture) as our chickens, when free-ranging, have decided that they would rather be out in the pasture than in our own yard. Hopefully the fence will keep them where they are supposed to be!