Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunset Over The Farm

Sunset on Saturday night.

This farm is about a quarter mile away from us.

The clouds make me think of a water color painting.

Friday, January 27, 2012

What's For Breakfast

I haven't posted a recipe for a long time.  Not because I quit cooking, but there are so many good food blogs out there, and I figured I can't really compete with them. 

This recipe fits my criteria for being easy to make, but there are some hard-to-find ingredients.

  We have a bulk food store near our home, and that would probably be the best place to find the flax seed and pumpkin seed. 

If you use salted seeds or nuts you may want to eliminate the teaspoon of salt.

Almond Peanut Butter Granola

4 cups quick oats                         1/4 cup butter  

1/2 cup coconut                           1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup sunflower seeds                1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/2 cup slivered almonds               1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup flax seed                           1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sesame seed                      1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup pumpkin seed                     2 teaspoons water
                                                       2 teaspoons vanilla

Toss the first seven ingredients together in a bowl.  Mix the rest of the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat just until the butter, and peanut butter melt.  Stir the two mixtures together, and spread on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan patting lightly.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.  Cool, and break apart. 
Store in an air-tight container.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A New Goal continued

A couple days ago I posted the first part of this series.   If you haven't read it yet go here

I've really enjoyed hearing from you about how you handle drop-in company, and also hearing that a lot of you have had experience with drop-in company at very inconvenient times.

Our lives are very busy right now.  I home school our two boys, and we are foster parents to two younger boys.  My husband drives truck during the "non-snow" months and as a result is gone for some very long hours during the summer.  All of these things make the "hermit" in me want to hunker down in the winter, lock my doors and refuse to answer my phone. 

However, this brings me to an important point about having visitors in my home.  Most of the time when I do have company I am the one who ends up feeling blessed by it, and the more I think about it isn't that really the point?

Having people into your home shouldn't be about impressing them with our beautiful home, or our astounding cooking skills.  It's about fellowship. 

People need each other.  I personally am a better person because of the people in my life.  They encourage me, build me up, and spur me on to try harder.

Which brings me to my second point.


Fellowship is the Reason To Have Company


Based on the title of this series you might assume that I set some kind of goal or challenge for myself regarding having people in my home.  I have!

Every week I am trying to do one hospitable activity.  Whether it is having company over for a meal or coffee, or just taking a busy mom a frozen meal.  This is a good challenge for me because it keeps me from slipping into the habit of thinking that I don't have time.

Finally, there is one aspect of having company that I haven't addressed, but got some comments about last time.


 There are seasons in our lives when having company in our home is not possible. 


 Right after we got our two little foster boys I struggled to make it through each day, and having company over for a meal would have thrown me completely over the edge.

  I don't think there is anything wrong with saying "no" if someone wants to come visit.  Our family should come first, and there is a polite way to decline.

The reason for writing this article stemmed from some drop-in company that we had, and while I'm not  advocating stopping in at someone's  home without calling it does happen once in a while. 

 The way that I've decided to handle this particular situation is to just keep doing what I was doing and visit while I work.  For example, if I'm folding a load of clothes I can chat while I do that.  Maybe some would consider this rude, but I simply view it as them stopping while I'm "on the clock" and I can talk and work at the same time.

One final thought, if you are struggling to feel calm and collected about having company in your home the best way to combat that is "practice."  I've noticed the more often I have company--the easier it gets.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Raindrops In The Fog

by: Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)
      HE fog comes
      on little cat feet.
      It sits looking
      over harbor and city
      on silent haunches
      and then moves on.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A New Goal

Confession, one thing that I do not "do" well is have company.

What brought this glaringly to my attention was that we had several different groups of "drop in" company over a period of about 4 days. 

To say that I did not handle it graciously would be an understatement.  The company was an intrusion on my well-ordered day, and it frustrated me.

 My attitude wasn't very kind, or neighborly.  I hope the company couldn't tell, but I was disturbed to find out that my husband could.

So, I've been thinking and praying about how I can avoid a repeat of this situation.

My personality does best with a little preparation to deflect stressful situations.  So, my first order of business is......


 Be prepared for company.


I've watched my mother-in-law put together meals for a crowd with very little warning, and some of her advice has always been "have some easy meals on hand."

You can do this a number of different ways.  By keeping some convenience foods in your pantry or freezer you will be able to put together a casserole or pot of soup within minutes. 

Another way is to make double of what you are feeding your family and freeze the second pan.  I've done this quite a bit lately, and it also helps me when I have a rough day and need an "easy out" for supper.

A third way that I can be prepared is to simply relax about my home and not worry so much about what people think of it.  There are four children and two adults who live here, and it looks like it.  Most of the company that comes to our house has children too, and should understand.

To be continued

Now, I want to hear how you practice hospitality at your house.  Do you have some tricks or strategies that work for you?


Friday, January 20, 2012

Financial Advice

Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

(Especially if it's a laundry basket.)

Can you guess how many dozen eggs that is?

Thanks to all of you for guessing!

It made my day to get so many comments!

It was sixteen dozen eggs!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Starting Today

I will only drink one cup of coffee. :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dear Rebecca

You came into the world on a very rainy fall day--maybe that's why to this day you like rain, but hate the gray skies that so commonly come with it.

You were born into a family of all boys, and grew up almost like an only child--don't feel bad about all the time you spent playing alone--it has made you value friendship very highly.

Don't worry about the fact that you have so much to say.  There will come a time when you will need to speak up for the children in your home who "have no voice of their own."

When you marry young, and some people criticize you for it--take their advice and "think about it", but in the end follow your heart.  Your marriage will be one of the best decisions you ever made.

Don't feel ashamed when your dream of becoming a nurse doesn't work out.  Your life's vocation will include a lot of caring for sick children.

Infertility will take you by surprise and bring you to your knees, but for the rest of your life there will be others walking the same road that you can encourage.

You will stumble and falter at times, but you will pick up the pieces and go on.  You will need to go back and say "I'm sorry", but this will only serve to make you stronger.

When you look at others and are tempted to compare yourself remember "I am fearfully and wonderfully made;"

You are unique, your life has a specific purpose, and no one can fulfill that purpose, but you.

Sometimes we are pretty hard on ourselves.  We look at our past, and our mistakes and we see all the failures.  This idea of writing a kind letter to myself is not original to me.  Go visit here to read Betsy's version of it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Are You Living Your Dream

.......if not maybe you should change what you're dreaming.


“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.”
― Socrates

I think all of us go through periods of discontentment.  However, I've begun to realize that my contentment has more to do with being happy where I am rather than trying to reach some unattainable goal.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Winter Wonderland

A few photos from around the yard.

Clock wise from the top left.

Pines in the snow.

Clothesline post.

Picnic table.

Winters supply of wood.

Our woods in the snow.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Only A Minute

It only takes a minute to.......

Say "I'm sorry"

Give a backrub

Smile at a stranger

Wipe a toddler's nose.

Say "yes" to what God is asking of you.

Send an encouraging note or email.

Say "I Love You"

Whisper a prayer for someone.


Too often the excuse I use for not doing things is "I don't have time."  In reality many good things can be done in just a minute.  These are just a few I thought of.


What can you do in one minute?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Am That Lady

I am that lady.  You know, the one who stands behind you in the checkout line and strikes up a conversation with you about the weather, or the price of milk.

I'm pretty outgoing by nature, but I didn't always talk to strangers.  Let me tell you how I came to this point.

After I started adding children to my family, and I was at home a lot I became lonely.  My days stretched before me long and unending with only laundry, and dishes to break the monotony.

I felt hurt and ignored when the phone remained silent and no one stopped by.  Had my friends forgotten me?  I pouted silently when my mailbox was empty, and the clerk in the store didn't even say "hi".

Couldn't anybody see how starved for adult conversation I was?

Then, one day I was waiting in a line--it might have been at the post office, or the grocery store.  The location really doesn't matter.  I noticed the lady behind the counter, I had seen her enough that I knew her face, but today it looked a little different.  Her hair was a little out of place, and her eyes looked tired.

I quickly read her name tag, took a deep breath, and said "How are you today Phyllis?"

Her head came up in surprise, and she answered "I'm tired."

"Working too hard?" I questioned.

What happened next took me by surprise.  She told me her husband had died unexpectedly last year, and left behind a lot of debt.  She was working two jobs, and she couldn't sleep well at night.  She told me about the five cats she had rescued from the animal shelter, and how they kept her company since her husband had passed away.

Phyllis and I saw each other off and on for the next several years until her retirement.  I always enjoyed chatting with her, and I would plan my errands to fall during her work shift.  Since she has retired I rarely see her anymore.

However, I learned an important lesson the day I first talked to Phyllis.  There are a lot of lonely people out there, and if you are one of them I have the perfect solution.


Reach out!


If you are willing to get out of your comfort zone a little and strike up a conversation you may make a new friend.  Sometimes my efforts are met with a cold stare, but more often than not I end up chatting with somebody new.

And even when I never see them again I walk away with a warm feeling in my heart.

Oh, and I'm almost never lonely anymore. :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Morning Brain Fog

"Be pleasant until ten o'clock in the morning and the rest of the day will take care of itself."
~Elbert Hubbard

My goal for a Monday morning is to implement the quote above.

Do you struggle to get back in the saddle on Monday mornings?


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Early Saturday Morning

Getting up early on a Saturday morning has it's rewards.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Little Things



“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”  ~Robert Brault


My husband brought this chair, and it's twin home with him a couple weeks ago. 

He was doing a job for a customer, and mentioned that his wife likes cast iron patio furniture, and the sweet lady offered to sell them to him.

Funny thing is--on his way home someone offered him almost four times what he paid for them.  I thought it was nice of him to say no. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Back to the Grind

I truly enjoyed my Christmas vacation this year.  I slept in a little, and played games with my children, and drank way too much coffee.
However, there is a part of me that longs for the normal routine.  I felt at loose ends somehow.  There were things I wanted to get done during our vacation, and I never did.  I didn't use my time wisely at all.

Don't tell anyone, but I can accomplish more while homeschooling than when I'm on vacation.

A big part of that is just that I follow a schedule during my day.  I discipline myself to get the job done.  Uh-oh, I just used the word discipline didn't I? 

Sometimes when my days are long, and I'm tired, and my children are not working diligently--I think I could accomplish so much more if they just climbed on a bus every morning.  The truth of the matter is that I would still have to organize my time--even if they went to school.

I would still have to remind them to brush their teeth.

I would still have to help with homework.

I would still need to limit my computer time. (ouch)

Life just functions better on a routine.

So, allow me to welcome you back to normal!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year

I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions.

For one thing I think it probably is better to work on things in bite size portions.

Perhaps I should make new month resolutions.

Anyway......I would rather look back at some of the good things that happened to me this past year.


1.  Blogging has become a creative outlet for me.  I've made some wonderful friends through it, and hopefully I've encouraged a few people along the way.

2.  I've been stretched and grown stronger by foster parenting my two little boys.  Six months ago I was mostly scared by the thought of this I'm just amazed by the things I was able to do.

3.  I've left behind quite a bit of physical weight this past year!  Probably due in part to number 2.

4.  This has been my best year of homeschooling so far.  In part because of a curriculum change, but also just a fair amount of attitude change on my part.

5.  My husband had a very difficult year with a hard work schedule, and although it was stressful we came through it stronger in our love for each other.

This is just the tip of the iceburg so-to-speak.  I could write a lot more good things that happened, but these are some of the highlights.


Now, I'd like to hear from you.


What are some good things that happened this past year in your life?