Monday, March 30, 2009

A Project

Jonathan purchased some additional shelving for our pantry and bathroom last week, and I was thrilled this afternoon when he got them installed for me. Of course, this meant that the task of re-organizing the pantry could no longer be put off!

I forgot a before picture, but here is some of the mess in the middle:

And the new shelves added in to the not-quite emptied pantry:

And a couple of "after" shots:

Lots of work, but glad to have it done. The pantry is more workable for us this way, and the nice thing about these shelving systems is that they are easy to adjust to your needs.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


First, check out this terrific post On Being Real.

The whole subject of being Real is something that has been on my heart for the last few years. I know it's come up here more than once. I think fake-ness is one of the biggest problems the body of Christ faces today. Well, it's actually pride, I suppose, because that's what generally keeps us from being real. We wouldn't want to let anyone know the dirty truth... that we're parenting sinners, we're married to sinners... that (gasp!) we ARE sinners... saved by grace, given a new nature, and still desperately in need of the practical work of sanctification. So we whitewash the truth about ourselves, thinking that everyone else has it all together (thank you, Jill Phillips), when everyone struggles, everyone needs to know they're not alone, and we should be supporting one another, not faking each other out.

And to be clear, the fakeness is not a malady I've conquered. But it's one I see God working on in me.

Other randomness...
Grace has been sick with stomach yuck since Monday morning. In that time, she's kept next to nothing down. Today, I am on a mission to re-hydrate her without having to go get her stuck with an IV. I'm giving her 1 tsp of fluid every 10 minutes (homemade pedialyte). She kept the first several tsp down, then brought it all up at once. We're back up to having successfully kept down 2 tsp. If she can't get something in to stay, we're thinking we might need to take her in later today. Your prayers are appreciated!

Jonathan got the garden tilled on Monday. Tip for noobie gardeners... front tine tillers will kick you in the booty! Whether you're buying or renting, go for the rear-tine. Free advice from noobie gardener central.

Stephen is enjoying making all sorts of sounds with his tongue. It's so fun, because I remember learning to making those sounds with my sweet Mama. He also has started trying to tickle my neck. Too cute!

Nobody's Got It All Together

I've posted a video of this song before, but the Realness issue is on my heart today (see next post), and I found someone who had taken the time to type out the lyrics. Hope it blesses you!

Jill Phillips - Nobody's Got it All Together

Working hard to tie up the loose ends
So hard to decide who you let in
Put your best foot forward with a grin

I can see the fear behind your eyes
Wondering if someone will recognize
You’ve grown tired of keeping up the lies

Don’t whitewash the truth about yourself ‘cause
Nobody’s got it all together
If you want to be like everyone else, well
Nobody’s got it all together

I have seen the darkness of my heart
And found a love that taught me its too hard
To walk through life and not let down my guard

What good is it to say, "Please Savior come"
If there is nothing you need rescued from
Life is something no one has a corner on

Don’t whitewash the truth about yourself ‘cause
Nobody’s got it all together
If you want to be like everyone else, well
Nobody’s got it all together

When the parts that are self righteous
Start to disappear
Every other life is
Just another mirror
'Cause life is way too short to run and hide

Don’t whitewash the truth about yourself ‘cause
Nobody’s got it all together
If you want to be like everyone else, well
Nobody’s got it all together

And here's a video... kind of a rough recording, but it's the best I can find:

Monday, March 23, 2009

Garden Visitors

Not sure what they'll think if they come back tomorrow... Jonathan is going to till the garden today!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bargain Chocolate

A couple weeks ago, I dropped by Lowe's to look at paint colors. We were on our way home from church, and J and the Blessings just read in the van while I ran in.

I got myself a handful of paint "chips" in the color range I had in mind. I'd never browsed the browns section before, but for some reason I have had brown on my mind for this bathroom. About the time I finished gathering paint chips, the paint lady finished up with her customers. C. used to work in the Home Decor department at our Lowe's ("our" Lowe's being the one out of which we do most of our install jobs), and we enjoyed getting to know her as we worked with her on installs of blinds and shutters. I think she just might think we're nice folks, too.

So, I asked C. if they had any "ooops" paint I could look at before I left... just in case. She goes behind the counter and holds up a can of paint. "This one's only worth about ... a dollar this way. It lost its handle, and we'd have to send it back. Want to find a color you like?"

This can of premium paint (usually sold for $20.50) wasn't even tinted yet! So off I went with my paint chips to the stain department. Why the stain department? Because we have lovely oak cabinets in our bathroom, and finding a brown that neither blends with nor clashes with oak is a bit tricky. Since I didn't have time to go home and hold all my paint chips up to my cabinets, I found the sample in the stain department that most closely matched them (in my mind's eye) and used that for color comparison.

Several minutes later, I walked out of the Lowe's having paid $1.08 for a $20.50 gallon of Belgian Chocolate paint. I was giddy all afternoon with the thrill of the deal!

I got permission this Wednesday from our friends/homeowners to paint the bathroom. Thursday found me busily taping away (because I'm lousy at cutting in), then painting. Though I took pictures along the way, I decided to wait and post the finished product.

For a reminder, my previous nesting attempts in our bathroom are shown in this post.

And here it is now:

(I had to lighten this shot excessively to get the window mistreatment to show)

We've talked about framing the mirror, but in the meantime I was inspired to use these sheers (do you remember when we bought them, Mama??) for the mirror and the window.

Input? Constructive criticism? Note: Constructive criticism does not include telling me I'm out of my ever-loving mind to paint my bathroom this color. :-)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The return of old friends

I got to finish up the first bookcase today:

I love the natural look of linseed oil as a finish. It preserves the beauty of the wood in such a lovely way. I joke sometimes about how I'm not allowed to paint wood, because in a woodworking family like Jonathan's, it is forbidden. But really, though there are some old junkie pieces I'd be glad to try painting, I truly do love the look of wood.

And I packed it full of books! They're not much in the way of organized, but it was so fun to unpack this many. It's like finding old friends again. There are lots of book boxes left to unpack, but this puts a nice dent in it.

Once we get the other bookcase built, I'll get the books more organized, and, if there is room, add some decorative touches. But books take precedence, make no mistake!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Great Visit

We were blessed to have Shawna and her Blessings visit us today! It was, of course, wonderful to see my dear friend, and it was fun to see the kids enjoy each other.

I took several pictures of Miles, trying to get a close up, but he's all action!

Stephen, on the other hand, will stop whatever he's doing to ham for the camera...

Grace and Cam fishing:

Miles the mountain climber:

The boys at the fence to our neighbors' horse corral:

The older girls:

The little boys were *done* by the time we took a group picture:

Cam wasn't!

Thanks for a wonderful visit, guys!

New Bookshelf - almost done

I mentioned that Jonathan bought wood for our new bookshelves the other day. Last night, Jonathan and Dad Smith got the first one put together. Hopefully, I'll get it finished (using linseed oil) tomorrow.

Here are the guys with their handiwork:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Been a while

I just checked and it's been over a week since I've posted anything! Several of the things that have happened in the last week or so definitely deserve their own blog posts, but since I'm not sure when I'll get to them, I'm going to give a brief rundown of some recent events.

~ I've started a running program. Me. Weird, eh? (This hasn't been in the last week... it was almost 3 weeks ago. I just didn't want to admit it)
~ We made it through our first chicken butchering. It wasn't as bad as I expected.
~ I discovered Parmesan on popcorn. Yum.
~ I scored what was probably my best bargain ever.
~ We ordered and received seeds for our garden, and I'm close to having it all planned.
~ I acted on that neat frugal tip I posted
~ Jonathan bought wood for our upcoming bookshelves - I pranced around like a kid at Christmas. That's appropriate, b/c the money for the shelves was our Christmas present from my beloved brother and sis-in-love.

There's probably more, but I've got to stop for now. This list should remind me of some things I want to comment on further.

EDIT on Monday 3/16:
Two things I forgot in my sleepiness the other night:
~ My man has started joining me on my walk/runs!!
~ We were blessed to have the Emmaus Bible College Ensemble in our area last Friday night - wonderful!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Neat Frugal Tip

My friend Rachel linked to this post on saving money on groceries, and while I already put to use a lot of the great ideas, the last paragraph of this section caught my eye. I'd like to put this into action!

8)Cook from scratch, as much as possible. It's a no-brainer, but cooking from scratch with simple, inexpensive ingredients is likely one of the greatest ways to save money on your grocery budget while also eating more healthfully.

We enjoy some processed foods as a treat, but I attempt to have the bulk of our diet made up of fresh fruits and veggies and homemade items. With some planning ahead and cooking in bulk and freezing, you can eliminate the need for many processed foods without spending a great deal of time and thought.

One of my best tips to help one be more efficient when it comes to cooking from scratch is just to look for ways you can make extra. If you're making waffles, make a double batch or triple batch and freeze the leftovers for breakfast later in the week. If you're making cookies, double the recipe, bake what you'll eat right away, and freeze the rest of the cookie dough in balls and then pull out how many you'll need and bake them later.

Another thing which has worked well for me is to try and bake for a few hours one day per week or for half a day every other week. This guarantees I almost always have a few different things on hand for quick breakfasts or snacks or bread to go along with dinner. If that's too daunting for you, then at least try to take 30 minutes a few times per week and bake up a triple batch of something and freeze most of it.

Being and Doing

I've read thoughts in the last week on a few different blogs (forgive me, I'm not even sure which blogs they were and I have no links for you) on Being more and Doing less. That sounds lovely, doesn't it? Focusing on who I am, who I want to be... and the things I need to do will get done. I've read these blogs with a mixture of longing and skepticism, to be honest. Yes, I realize that Who I am is more important than What I do. But I've got a family to care for, feed, cloth, educate, etc. And I've had my doubts about how this all fits together.

This morning, I was thinking about all the stuff I needed to Do today. And then I was reminded about Being. So before I wrote out my To-Do list, I made myself first write out my To-Be list.

So, on the left side of the paper is this:
Earthly good
Thankful (just added - thank you Hope!)

And on the right side of the paper:
Invoices (done)
Scheduling (done)
15 Minutes in: Kitchen, Our Room, Living/Dining Rm
Garden Planning
Call Dr. Mary (pushed to tomorrow, since she's not at the office today)
Transplant Strawberries before they die (done)

This dual list has actually helped me be more focused on Being rather than Doing. I've noticed, though, that I don't get to cross things off the BE list. It won't be "finished" until I'm finished! That's okay, because He who promised is Faithful. And as I focus on enjoying Him and His work in me (Being), I really am able to Do what I need to do.

Hope this is some encouragement to you today!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


My children would love to go skating once a week (or at least once a month), but between the budget and the one vehicle, it's not a very common occurrence. We actually have a nice skating rink in a nearby town, and we all enjoyed it this last Saturday when the area Good News Clubs reserved it for a skating party. Dad and Mom Smith head up one of the clubs and our older four go with them most weeks.

Josiah and Max

Barak, Nate, and Davey

Ellie and Kate (our cautious girls)

Grace, who was determined to do it by herself - and did!

The BBC gang

Monday, March 02, 2009

The geese are back

This morning when I went for my walk/run, I found 8 Canada geese up by the pond. They are beautiful birds. I expected that they would get scared when I got up to the pond, but I didn't seem to bother them much at all. As I would come close to the side of the pond where they were, they would just swim to the other side and wait till I approached. I guess I wasn't the only one getting some exercise this morning!

Later in the day when we went up to our wonderful neighbors' house to do some school stuff, I took my camera and got a couple of pictures of the geese. I need to figure out a good way to take my camera when I walk/run, especially with spring coming!

Oh, and speaking of being up at our neighbors' (affectionately known as The K's)... Stephen decided to get a workout while we watched a science video today. He really knows how to work this thing!

Crash and Kate - Monday update

Here they are in all their lunch time glory:

The bloody looking spots on Kate's eye are actually outside the area where the cut/glue are. The cut itself is looking great!

Stephen got all kinds of comments over the weekend on how manly he looks with his black eye.

Cuts and bruises aside, don't they have gorgeous eyes?!?

A giveaway!

Vanessa over at V & Co. (that super inspiring blog I mentioned last week) is having a honey bun giveaway. If you don't know what I mean by a honey bun, you definitely need to check out her blog!

What is?

We heard on the radio yesterday that in mid-February, the following answer was given on Jeopardy:

A Marxist stage 
before Communism, 
this is government control 
over the economy; I 
thought it meant 

... and none of the contestants could come up with the question.

Our twelve year old was in the back seat hollering the correct question.  But the Jeopardy contestants, and, I would venture, a large number of Americans, did not know.  Do you??

Sunday, March 01, 2009

If the grass is greener...

Overheard from a wise friend tonight:

If the grass is greener on the other side - water yours.