As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this nearly six-acre tract of land, this farmhouse, this domain—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring Candy Bark




We have several springtime gatherings coming up, so I asked Bekah to make this fun and festive Spring Candy Bark! 

Kati has made all kinds of candy bark over the years: peppermint bark, orange bark, coffee bark (all good, although coffee bark may be my favorite). Bekah used Kati's recipe for a jumping off place and came up with this delectable and beautiful springtime treat! 




SPRING CANDY BARK

Melt a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in microwavable bowl for 1 minute 20 seconds, stirring every 20 seconds or until chocolate is melted. (Of course, microwaves are different. The main thing is to melt slowly, stirring every 20 seconds because it can change in the blink of an eye!) Spread melted chocolate on a cookie sheet that has been lined with wax paper. Cool in refrigerator for a few minutes. 

In a different bowl*, melt 2 bags of white chocolate chips for 1 minute 15 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds or until chocolate is melted. (Again, adjust times for your own microwave, but Bekah recommends 15 second intervals for the white chocolate as it is more temperamental.) Spread melted white chocolate over cooled semi-sweet chocolate. 

* Bekah recommends using a different bowl to melt the white chocolate chips. You could wash the first bowl, but if even a drop or two of water remains in the bowl after washing, your white chocolate will seize. (Bekah's is the voice of experience in this case.)



While white chocolate is still soft, sprinkle crushed pastel candies and/or sprinkles. Bekah used M&M's Eggs and some "Easter Sprinkles" from Target. Gently press into chocolate. (The larger candy pieces need a firmer hand.)



Cool in refrigerator until firm. With hands, break into bite-sized pieces. 




Put some in a bowl or on a pretty plate for an instant burst of springtime on your table!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ryan and Sarah: Ten Years!






Can it really have been ten years since this couple began to journey together as husband and wife? Those ten years have held a lot -- many changes, amazing growth, six states, countless miles of travel, and four precious children -- but their love remains constant and their lives are a blessing to so many! Their marriage points to the beautiful picture of Christ and His church. (Ephesians 5:22-33)  

Happy 10th Anniversary to Ryan and Sarah!
May your lives continue to shine for His glory as you walk this path together!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Redware" Eggs



Inspired by a couple of photos of some painted "redware" eggs (~here~ and ~here~), I decided to paint a batch for myself. 

Of course, I had the project on my to-do list all last week but never got around to doing it...until Saturday when I had a gazillion other things on my list. Ron and I had been out for breakfast, Kati was called in to work early, Ron left to cut firewood, and Bekah and I were left to clean the entire house, catch up on the laundry, make dessert for Sunday afternoon, and make dinner before we left for a ladies' game party at my daughter's house. Perfect time to start a project, right? 

(That's how procrastinators do things, you know.) 

So I gathered a few supplies: a package of plastic dyeable eggs, some brushes, and various and sundry acrylic paints in my stash.

I did not have the colors I needed, but this was a last minute project and we were short on time so no trip to the store. Instead, I squeezed a little barn red on a paper plate and stirred in a bit of brown to make a rusty red. Then I blended some yellow into a blob of taupe to get the muted yellow I needed. 

I was hoping that the dyeable eggs were porous enough to absorb the acrylics, but, alas, they were not. Time for Plan B. 

Off to the attic I went to retrieve some wooden eggs. Year ago, I had painted these wooden ones blue and then dappled them with white to create a spongeware look. Ryan had suggested that they looked like denim and after that I could see nothing else, so I never used them. I had nothing to lose by painting over them! 



The "denim" eggs required two coats of the rusty red paint. (Thankfully, acrylics dry quickly!) 

Then, while looking at online images of redware pottery for inspiration, I used the yellow to paint some typical designs on the eggs. 

After they were dry, I began to apply a coat of wax, but the wax started to remove some of the paint. Ack! No time to repaint! Plan B Plan C to the rescue! I rubbed a little Old English furniture polish over each egg to protect the paint and add a little luster.

My work is certainly not professional. I should have thinned the paint a bit, and my detail brush could have been narrower. But I am pleased with the overall look. It is good enough. 



About that to-do list? 

The house was cleaned. The laundry was washed and dried but not folded. Dinner was prepared by Chick-fil-A instead of me. Dessert baking was postponed to Sunday morning. 

But I had a cute bowl of eggs on my kitchen table when our church fellowship met here on Sunday morning!

(Because that's how procrastinators do things, you know.)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

"Some Trifling Haphazard Thing..."


Amid the busyness that is this weekend, I picked up a favorite book, Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot. I had only a minute to read, but a minute was enough. These words by Annie Keary (1825-1879) in the forward of the book spoke great wisdom and challenged me with a fresh way to look at my work. 

I think I find most help in trying to look on all the interruptions and hindrances to work that one has planned out for oneself as discipline, trials sent by God to help one against getting selfish over one's work. Then one can feel that perhaps one's true work -- one's work for God -- consists in doing some trifling haphazard thing that has been thrown into one's day. It is not a waste of time, as one is tempted to think, it is the most important part of the work of the day -- the part one can best offer to God. After such a hindrance, do not rush after the planned work, trust that the time to finish it will be given sometime, and keep a quiet heart about it. 


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Changes in the Living Room


photo by Bekah


Since the end of summer, changes to the living room have been in the works. 

It is extremely rare for us to change so many things in such a short time. Typically, we change up a bit here and a bit there, collecting, gathering, piecing together over time. Hey, we're the people who took fourteen years to remodel The Farmhouse! (Someday, I should share a few stories. One involves a reptile. ~shudder~) 

But back to the living room. 

Part of my dream for the living room was to lighten it up. It's a small room, and it's on the northeast side of the house so it doesn't get a lot of natural light after mid-morning. Although I loved my furniture, the colors were dark (black and barn red) and the sofa was a bit too large for the space. When I removed the rug one afternoon on a whim, the room looked so much lighter and brighter and I knew I was on the right track.

My beloved red chair was getting worn. As I dreamed of a replacement, I decided that my dream included a recliner. Yes, after years of traditional wing chairs and foot stools, I was ready to spend my evenings in a comfy recliner. So I filed that thought away for the future.

Then I learned that my friend Kim was considering selling her sofa...and the ball started rolling! The future was now! 

We bought, we sold, we gave away, we shopped the house, and we inherited. And before Christmas, it looked like a different room!




Here is the sofa that got the ball rolling. In my 36 years of homemaking and six living room sofas (seven if you count the fact that one was reupholstered), this is The One. One night as I sat admiring the new sofa, I told Kati that I had reached Sofa Nirvana. She laughed at my choice of terms, but she knew what I meant. It is exactly what I want. Style, fabric, color, size.

photo by Bekah


The sofa pushed me to go for the recliner. It is a treat to kick back in the evenings in such a comfy chair. And it's still a wing chair. Win-win! (Thank you, Hudson's General Store!)




We replaced Ron's black leather recliner with a brown leather recliner. Same chair, different color. This color is more of a "neutral" and will go with anything. It should last a lifetime. 



This trunk was the only item that I specifically requested from my Aunt Lynn's estate. She had it in every place that she lived, in her bedroom as a TV stand, and it says "Lynn" to me. I think it makes a fine coffee table.




Of course, you know what happens when you change even one piece in a room. It starts a chain reaction, doesn't it? Once the new furniture was in place, my red checked curtains looked too bold. They were stealing the show. But that was an easy fix. I just swapped the small navy checks from the dining room and put the red checks in there.

photo by Bekah


I added a couple of inexpensive accents. A pineapple chair pad picked up on our visit to Lancaster County and a wool appliqued pillow I purchased with some Christmas money. I found some tan upholstery fabric on clearance and covered some large feather pillows. (I actually like the sofa better without those large pillows, but they add comfort for the sofa-sitters.)

photo by Bekah



There you have it...some whirlwind decorating!! A lot done in a short period of time, for sure. But we've had thirty-some years to hone our style, many of our choices were bargains (some free!), and I think that many of the changes will be long term.



What's next? Funny you should ask. :)

Also from my Aunt Lynn's house, I was given a Queen Ann highboy...something like this:

I know that it isn't my typical style, but I am toying with the idea of painting and distressing it (does that make anyone cringe?) to make it more primitive. I think it will be black, although that will certainly not lighten/brighten the room. It may also be too large and imposing in my small space. If I like how it turns out and how it looks in the room, I will put it where this cabinet is now. If I don't, then I may move it up to my bedroom. 



Lastly, I am on the lookout for an Oriental rug. The one that is currently in the living room is one that was snagged from the dining room, but it's not quite what I want. I have looked at a blue million rugs, both online and in stores. Design and price are factors. It may be a while.

I'll end this way-too-long post about a topic that is not all that important in the grand scheme of things (but I do love house-y things!) with a few views of the before and after. I suppose if you're still reading that you love house-y things too. :)




Do you dream of changes or do you like for things to stay the same? Have you ever had a house-y "chain reaction"?  


Linking this week to The Scoop!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Saturday Morning Thoughts


This week was a wild ride! 



Full of highs and lows. A week of tissues...for colds and for meltdowns. A week for beginnings. And for smiles and tears. Sunshine and raindrops. Busy schedules for some of us, cancelled plans for others. 



By yesterday, life was a bit more settled.  

 

Late afternoon found the girls and me putting together a casual meal as friends were joining us for dinner. It had been a busy day and we had only a short time to get everything done, but we all worked together, chopping vegetables, stirring soup, chatting and laughing and comparing notes about our days, the music of Michael Card as background. We were busy, but not hurried. 

I totally love working in the kitchen with my daughters. Working together, we nurture our relationship and make great memories.



Now on this Saturday morning, I linger over a second cup of coffee and some unhurried time. Later in the day, there will be some shopping and then preparations for tomorrow's Irish dinner. But for now, I am grateful for moments to be still. I am grateful for His daily grace. 

It is more than enough. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ministry



Profound thoughts about ministry from the late Rich Mullins...


Start realizing that your ministry is how much of a tip you leave when you eat in a restaurant; when you leave a hotel room whether you leave it messed up or not; whether you flush your toilet or not. Your ministry is the way you love people. And you love people when you write something that is encouraging to them, something challenging. You love people when you call your wife and say, "I'm going to be late for dinner," instead of letting her burn the meal. You love people when maybe you cook a meal for your wife sometime, because you know she's really tired. Loving people -- being respectful toward them -- is much more important than writing or doing music.

If you are a Christian, ministry is just an accident of being alive. I don't know that you can divide up your life and say, "This is my ministry," and "This is my other thing," because the fruits of Christianity affect everybody around us.


~ Rich Mullins



"Your ministry is the way you love people." 

How are you ministering the love of Christ today? How am I?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sunday Snapshots: An Unbirthday


Yesterday, we gathered to celebrate the unbirthday of Ron's mom. It was an "unbirthday" because she was born around eighty-seven years ago on Leap Day. Technically, she has only had twenty-one birthdays, making her the same age as Kati. On their next birthdays, they will both be twenty-two. Says Kati, "Not many people can say that they are the same age as their grandmother!"   



Here's the birthday girl with a relatively small representation of her family. (She is the mother of eight, grandmother of seventeen, and great-grandmother of thirty-two!) 



Bekah made a delicious birthday cake for our celebration -- orange marmalade sandwiched between layers of yellow cake, all covered with vanilla butter cream icing, and garnished with candied orange peel. So good.




Bonus: Take a look at those knees! Cute or what?!  :D






Saturday, March 7, 2015

Gathering the Moments of February







Seven days into March, I am reflecting on February. 

Oh, there were simply too many memory-making moments to just pass over this month, even if Henrietta's obstinance did pose a problem and even if the incidentals of my schedule did leave little time for blogging. So in the spirit of "better late than never" and for the sake of my own marking of moments, I have looked back at the longest-shortest month and gathered some of the joyful, the cold, the beautiful, the new, the sweet, the special, and the everyday moments. 

And the snow. Did I mention snow? 

Family would have to be February's theme. 

We started off with a visit with my sister, niece, and great-nieces. Linda moved into her new apartment in November and in three short months has made it into a gorgeous, welcoming home. (Maybe someday she'll give me permission to do a home tour to share with you. Linda?) She served us a yummy lunch, we enjoyed the little girls, and then we perused the vintage cookbooks

We had our usual Sunday afternoon gatherings (no birthdays this month...can you believe it?!) and the younger bakers made desserts. They've made desserts before, but this month they began also to serve their own creations. They took this very seriously and I think it's great practice for them.

In mid-February, we had a big celebration when Ryan, Sarah, Eve, Nora, Peter, and Baby Paul came for the weekend! Paul was introduced to his great-grandparents, his aunt and uncle, and his cousins. On that Saturday evening, we gathered for a family meal. We began with hugs and catching up and conversation and children playing. In the middle was some story-reading and an impromptu talent show with everything from the fastest recitation of "Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers" that you ever did hear (by my mom), to some piano solos, to card tricks, to making a Lego airplane using the pieces from a Lego ice cream truck! Then, just as we thought the evening was winding down, Ryan turned up the iPod a few decibels and the party revved up! And when I say "a good time was had by all," that is exactly what I mean.

We wrapped up February with a grand mid-winter sleepover. Oh my goodness, it is fun being a grandparent! It is a delight to watch the children grow and to see their personalities blossom. We marvel at their uniqueness, their humor, and the fact that they are as old as they are. (And that we are as old as we are.)


February was also freezing! And did I mention snow? Brrrrr... 




"One generation shall praise thy works to another, 
and shall declare thy mighty acts." 
(Psalm 145:4)


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