Monday, December 31, 2012

A Little of This and That

Yesterday afternoon, I went around our home with my camera and 
captured a few rather random photos :) . . .
 

-- No flowers to be seen outdoors, but a few artificial ones bring a little cheer to our room --



-- More soap curing --



-- 'New' to me old books all of which are by anonymous authors. I have been able to add a number of wonderful books to my library lately which I am thankful for! --



-- The one I am reading right now --



-- My cross-stitch that is still in progress. I'm working on the curtain now 
which is one of the last things left  --



-- A glass jar that Mom and Dad found at an antique store made not only a practical, but an attractive, display in the bathroom for bars of homemade soap --



-- Winter decor . . . and it really has felt like winter here lately with the temperature not even climbing above freezing most days! --



-- Not quite a winter cross-stitch :), but it contrasts well with the greenery! And the verse is always an encouraging reminder --



-- My hammered dulcimer that I have so been enjoying playing! 
(Along with the piano and a bit of fiddle, too) --



-- And my (almost) finished rocking chair! It has its new seat in now and I had thought it was all done, but after a bit of use, realized the wood glue repair I had done on the seat wasn't enough. So we're going to get a steel plate to attach to the bottom of the seat and hold the pieces together (it already has two really old bolts through the side of the seat that someone had used at one point in the chair's life to hold it together. They aren't quite enough, though!) I am really looking forward to when I'll be able to use it again! --

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

~ Family ~

. . . is a blessing . . . 


And I am so thankful for mine!


(our first photo of all of us together since Gracen's birth! And it was one very rushed and fun photo shoot as it was cold outside [you can even see some remaining remnants of our first snowfall in the background.] Surprisingly, even though there was no one at the camera [it was on a tripod] both of the girls were looking in the 'general' right direction thanks to my Dad's creativity!)
Photo taken December 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Out for a Walk

Awhile back, all of us and Ryan and Ashley and the girls went on an enjoyable outing together (during which, none of us thought to take photos!) . . . right before packing up and heading home, though, everyone was gathered around the vehicles talking and energetic little Adelyn and I decided to go for a walk . . . meanwhile, Mom snapped these photos of us . . .

Excitedly exploring . . . and learning that the rocks and leaves she was 
fascinated by, do not belong in her mouth!

Learning how to walk on long grass . . . easier said than done sometimes :)

I love being an aunt!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Sunday Hymn ~ At Calvary

 Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

 
By God's Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I'd spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.
 

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

 
Now I've given to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing of Calvary!
 

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

 
Oh, the love that drew salvation's plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!
 

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.


 Words by William Newell

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 "Wretched man that I am ! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:24-25a)

"For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf." (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

"Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;" (Hebrews 10:19-23) 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Unexpected Treat

Last weekend, Ryan, Ashley and Gracen were all sick (thankfully they're all better now!) so to help them out and give them an opportunity to get more rest, Adelyn came and stayed with us! We had such a wonderful time with her! She is so sweet, and over the time she was with us, it was such a delight to hear her little feet pattering on the floor, her ringing laughter as we played with her, her arms outstretched to give us hugs, her adorable chatter, her radiant smiles, and so much more. What a precious, precious blessing she is!

Signing 'please' shortly before bedtime (I can't remember what she was asking for, though!) She has learned well the signs for 'please' and 'thank you' and uses them often. It is so cute!

Reading the "Creation" Magazine with her Grandpa . . . she was fascinated by it!

Coloring with her Grandma!

This excited face is because her Grandpa just asked her "do you want to go outside?" :) Here, he's putting her shoes on right before going out. She loves to be outdoors!

Having fun together!

What a wonderful two days this was!

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Progressing Quilter . . .

Over the past months, I have been enjoying teaching a young girl more about quilting! This is the second quilt that we have made together, and this time, she picked out what pattern she wanted to do. She has been working diligently on cutting out all of the pieces and appliqueing all 63 of the hearts onto the background fabric squares. She was rewarded for her hard work last week by being able to lay out all of the pieces on the floor and arrange the squares where she wanted them to be (though not quite all of the hearts are appliqued on yet) . . .


 It is exciting to see it coming together!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Winter is Coming . . .

. . . and the garden has been put to bed . . .

The mangel beets all mulched and ready to be harvested as needed 
and fed to the livestock over the winter.

. . . cold frames and a 'greenhouse' of sorts have been made to cover the cool weather crops . . .

Kale . . . a staple in our winter salads!

Spinach and lettuce in the temporary 'greenhouse' that Dad built (you can see it in the background in the photo of the mulched mangel beets.)

. . . the strawberry plants have been covered in a blanket of straw . . .


. . . and a few celery plants and spinach plants persist in growing without having any protective covering despite the cold temperatures we had had! (Before the next cold spell comes, though, I am planning to build something to cover them.)

Celery

Spinach

Yet other than a few days with lows in the teens, unusually warm weather has continued into December with one day even reaching into the 70's! Days like these have made working outdoors on things such as cleaning up, organizing storage areas, hauling branches, getting the beehives all ready for winter, etc. rather enjoyable. Surprisingly, even some dandelions are still blooming here and there . . . in December! Only a few days ago our honeybees were still bringing in their bright yellow pollen . . .


The past few days, though, there has been something in the air which the weather forecast agrees with . . . colder weather is coming! Dad picked up a couple more bales of hay last weekend so now we'll have enough at our place to last through the winter . . .


Some of the cockerels that Leah hatched out

And while the enjoyable busyness of farm life has continued, over the past month we have had the blessing of enjoying special times with both friends and family. Times with Ryan, Ashley and the girls have been frequent including one day having Adelyn and Gracen spend the day here with us, and another day Leah and I went over and helped Ashley which was fun as always!

Then the Saturday before Thanksgiving, we were able to go down and visit a dear family in southern Missouri . . . what a blessing and encouragement that was to all of us! Thank you Joy! We so enjoyed our time with you all! And only wish it could have been longer. :)

Our actual Thanksgiving day was a little different than normal this year as Ryan and Ashley went to South Carolina to spend the week with her family, and then another family that we know (again in southern Missouri) invited us down to their place for the day. The time spent with them was not only much enjoyed, but it was such an encouragement in the Lord for all of us. Times with other believers in Christ are always a blessing!

The neighboring pasture on a beautiful foggy morning

With the calender now on the last month of the year, I am amazed that 2013 is looming just around the corner . . . didn’t 2012 just start yesterday??? :) As the busy days are going by so quickly, I am finding my heart convicted ever more to be heavenly minded and not earthly minded. What am I really doing to further God’s kingdom? To be His light and His witness? To serve Him and glorify Him? To please Him? I find my heart sobered and convicted when considering these questions. It is so easy to be consumed by the day to day cares that one loses sight of what is eternal and truly matters.

These questions have become even more probing as I recently read the book Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot. What amazing and strong men and women of God they were! The men’s lives were short, but what an impact for eternity they have made and on so many lives, my own included.

So that is some of what has been filling our days and my thoughts as of late . . . and I know I am starting to sound like a broken record :), but I really am hoping to start posting a little more frequently!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Transformation

Back in 2011, I had gotten a rocking chair at an antique store . . . it was missing its seat, but I made a temporary one that would work for the time being. I wasn't for sure if I wanted to refinish the chair or not, so I just continued to use it as it was. Then for my birthday this past year, my parents gave me a leather seat to replace the missing one . . . at that time, though, I was still vacillating . . . should I refinish? Or not? 

Well, spring and summer were too busy to work on refinishing projects so I put off making a decision. :) Then fall arrived, and I finally decided to strip off the old finish! It started out looking like this . . .


And after being stripped and sanded it looked like this . . .


A close-up of some of the designs

Sanding prior to doing the next step (photo courtesy of Leah . . . she was out photographing a pair of baby boots for her Etsy store and snapped this one of me, too. :)

And now after being stained, it looks like this . . .


Though when it is inside out of the sunlight it looks darker and not quite as red.



I am so happy with how it is looking! Last night I fixed part of the seat that needed to be repaired, and now all that is left is to put the finish on, put in the new leather seat, and then . . . use it!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Homemade Biscuits

With an excess of milk in our fridge (again! :) and no time to make cheese on Saturday, Leah and I opted for making biscuits and sausage gravy for dinner, and used our all time favorite biscuit recipe. It's one of the few things that we make with all-purpose flour, but it makes the best biscuits. Light, flacky, buttery, and oh, so good! And I thought you all might like the recipe as well . . . enjoy!



Good Plain Biscuits

--2 cups all-purpose flour
--1 Tbsp. baking powder
--1/4 tsp. salt
--6 Tbsp. butter
--2/3 cup milk

Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add the milk to the flour mixture; mix lightly with a fork until the mixture clings together and forms a ball of soft dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently, turning 5 or 6 times.

With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/2-inch thickness. With a floured 2-inch cutter, cut the dough into rounds. Place the biscuits 1-inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Pat the dough scraps together, reroll, and cut out more biscuits.

Bake the biscuits 10 to 12 minutes or until they are light brown. Yields around 10 biscuits. (As we generally need more biscuits than this, I always make two batches [the biscuits don't seem to turn out as well if the recipe is doubled.] They are so good with gravy or simply with honey or jelly on them!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Soap Making

The first batch of soap that Ashley and I had made has now cured long enough so we've begun using it! I am so pleased with how it came out! It has a lovely scent and a nice lather, too.
 
 

Since making the first batch, I have made soap a couple more times and have used goat's milk in those ones. It is so fun making soap, and I have many ideas of different types I would like to try.



So far I have made  . . .

~ Lavender ~
(Pictured above)

~ Tea Tree and Peppermint Wake Up Bar ~
(This is a facial bar, and we're looking forward to trying it once it finishes curing . . . only about two more weeks to go.)



. . . and the newest one . . .

~ Lavender and Orange ~


I really like the scent of this one! Plus the orange essential oil adds a pretty yellow color to the soap. The bars were just cut this morning and are curing in our room which makes it smell rather good in there. :) Next to try is cinnamon and oatmeal!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Celebrating Ryan's Birthday

The coming of the end of October always means a birthday celebration for our family, and this time, we had been planning for months what we were going to give Ryan! They had invited us over for the day so we loaded up the back of the truck with the 'surprise' and headed to their place for what was a special, enjoyable and fun day. I'll let the photos tell some of the story :) . . . .

This little munchkin kept us all entertained until she went down for her nap

 In the middle of showing us all of the sign language that she knows . . . she even has a sign for please and thank you! And as of right now, is speaking some words, too. This is such a fun age!

Going out to see the birthday gift which was still in the back of our truck. After getting down the steps, Ryan closed his eyes, and Ashley led him the rest of the way.

 And there it was! He was so surprised!

Rabbits! Two bred does that were due to kindle in a couple of weeks. Plus cages, feeders, waterers, nestboxes and the supplies to build a stand/shelter for them.

One of Adelyn's pictures. :) She was watching me take photos and walked over with such an inquisitive look on her face. I bent down and helped her push the button down to take a photo and she kept wanting to do it over and over! And then of course, to see the photo she had just taken. :)


Ryan and Leah working on setting up the rabbit cage hanging system . . . Dad had already put so much work into getting things ready such as cutting and fitting the PVC, making the plates to go inside of them, and cutting the metal pipe and boring holes in them, so that on Ryan's actual birthday, all that needed to be done was to put it all together!

Dad putting wires into the already drilled holes in the metal pipe

Meanwhile, Mom, Ashley and I went inside . . . it was time for Adelyn to go down for her nap and Gracen was ready to get up. She enjoyed storytime with her Grandma!

Then came time to put the rabbits in their new home!

Sweet little Gracen in her Mama's arms watching the proceedings

Almost done! It still needs some greenboard put on the back and sides for protection from wind and rain.

Ryan, Ashley and Gracen

 Gracen and her Daddy :)

We went for a walk around their place and all took turns holding Gracen . . . here she is enjoying being in Aunt Leah's arms while watching the sheep.


Gracen and I

Ryan and Ashley

And to end the day . . . storytime with Grandpa. :)