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 home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—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.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Marry Me Toffee

Confections like "Marry Me Toffee" are why we are all on diets in January.

Oh my goodness. 

I tore this recipe out of my Country Door catalog back in the fall, thinking that maybe I'd try it at Christmastime.

I tried it.

And now I want to eat all. the. toffee. 

It would make a nice hostess gift or teacher gift.

A little bowl of this would be a yummy addition to a party table or a tray of treats.

Or breakfast.

I gave Ron a piece. I can't tell if it worked because we're already married. But if I was single, I'd give it a shot!

(original recipe in Country Door catalog)

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans 
2 sticks butter
2 cups brown sugar

Line a 9 x 13 cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spray with cooking spray.
Sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans evenly on cookie sheet.

Melt butter. Add brown sugar and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Boil for 7 minutes, stirring constantly with silicon spatula.

Pour toffee over chips/nut mixture.
Let pan stand on a kitchen towel for 30 minutes.

Place pan in freezer for 30 minutes to cure.
Break it into pieces and serve.

Thanks to my hand model, Eve! :)

Serve it fast!

Before you eat all. the. toffee.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Morning Time {Christmas Music}

We are trying something a bit different for Morning Time during this Christmas season. Combining our Bible and our classical music elements, we are doing devotions based on George Frideric Handel's Messiah

Years ago, I had read of this idea on Cindy Rollins' blog, but somehow I perceived it as complicated (I don't know why) and never did it. This year, we jumped in and we're loving it! Each day we read passages from the Bible, and then we listen to the corresponding portions from the oratorio. So simple. So wonderful! My classical music-loving girl is soaking it up!

This is the link to Cindy's schedule of reading and listening: 

We are listening (and watching) this YouTube performance of Messiah:

This performance by Collegium 1704 is excellent in every way, from the enthusiasm of the conductor Václav Luks to the superb soloists to the outstanding orchestra. (I even appreciate the quality of the video. It is easy to watch, the sound quality is good, and I love how the videographer sometimes artfully focuses the camera on the neck of a violin or on a bow.) 

Another interesting note. We noticed a brass instrument that we could not identify. It looks something like a trombone, a bit like a trumpet, but it was something that neither of us had seen before. 

I sought help from my Facebook friends. Was it a sackbut? A natural trumpet? After some discussion, it was concluded that it is likely a baroque trumpet, an instrument which would replicate the sound of an instrument of the Baroque period. (Thanks, Melanie!) 

I love homeschooling! It is never dull! 

Our hymn for the month of December was written in 1866 by Benjamin Hanby, but I heard it for the first time last year. Although "Who Is He in Yonder Stall?" begins with the Christmas story, it really tells the whole story of Jesus. It is a beautiful hymn, and this is my favorite version:

We are loving our Morning Time music for the month of December!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Pineapple Gift Tags | A How-To

Several years before we moved to Pineapple House, I had been poring over Nora Murphy's Christmas e-mag*, and amid the dozens of beautiful holiday images I caught a glimpse of a gift tag stamped with a pineapple! 

~ source ~

I don't know about you, but finding just the right gift tag can sometimes be a struggle, so right then I decided I wanted to make some pineapple gift tags of my own.  The hunt was on for a pineapple stamp (one that looked colonial, not island-y)! 

I found one just before we moved. So last year, appropriately, our first Christmas at Pineapple House, I was ready to create some pineapple tags for our packages.

They are so easy to make! Here's how!

Gather your supplies: 
 • stamp of your choice  
• ink pad
• cutter or decorative scissors
• card stock
• hole punch
• ribbon, string, or jute
• fine-point Sharpie marker

Press your stamp onto the ink pad.

Firmly press stamp onto card stock, being careful not to move it.

Cut your desired shape. 
(I simply cut mine into rectangles, but you could go all fancy if you wanted.)

Then punch a hole in the corner and tie a piece of ribbon or string.

Using a fine-point Sharpie, write your message.

And you're done!

I loved these plaid fabric bags I got from Target last year! They were perfect for holding stocking stuffers and gift cards.

Pineapple gift tags will be under our tree again this year . . . and the next . . .

Saturday, December 2, 2017

New Media Cabinet

Here is our brand spanking new media cabinet, homemade by my hubby

We hadn't been at Pineapple House a week when we purchased the TV stand below at a bargain basement price, but we knew then that it was a temporary solution. 

We had plans (but not time) to build something that would house all of our media components: TV, blu-ray player, iPod, Wii, DVDs, CDs, etc. Whenever possible, I like to "hide ugly stuff" so I wanted a cabinet with doors. I also thought our room needed something tall, because most of the furniture was the same height. 

When we rearranged the living room in August, we knew that the time was right for this project! So after Ron completed the project he was working on (making shutters for the living room windows), he got to work and created the cabinet I saw in my mind's eye! 

See all the "ugly stuff"? I love that it's behind doors when we're not using it.

The television is mounted on an extension bracket. It can come out of the cabinet just a bit and it can be angled toward the viewer(s). 

A few years ago, I was looking for a way to store our collection of DVDs and CDs which were taking up way too much space. The solution was to ditch all of the cases (eek!), put the discs in paper sleeves, categorize them, and store them in these media baskets

My solution may not be for everyone. In fact, I had to do a sales pitch here at my house! But if we need to know any of the information that was on the case (the year the movie was made, who the actors are, etc.), IMDb is there at the click of a mouse with all of that and more! 

Full disclosure: A few movie cases were squirreled away because the owners could not bear to part with them. 😉

The original plan was to paint the media cabinet the the custom color I had mixed for the smaller TV stand. I asked Ron to paint black as an undercoat . . . and then I liked it, so black it was! 

(I think the color reads a little blue in these pics, but it is really a true black.) 

And so the last project on our "Pineapple House living room" list has been completed! 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thanksgiving ~ 2017

Even though everyone else in Blogland and in the stores (and, truthfully, even at my house) has moved on to Christmas, here in this space I am going to linger at Thanksgiving just a bit longer to record the blessings of the day. 

Kati had some extra days off during Thanksgiving week. I am thankful that we girls were able to enjoy planning, decorating, cooking, and preparing for Thanksgiving Day together. 

This year we used brown transferware and green accents, inspired by one of Jenny Steffens Hobick's tables. We found some muted gold ribbon to tie the napkins and tucked in a sprig of rosemary from the herb garden. 

Then we gathered up pumpkins and gourds from inside and outside to decorate the tables. This one is my favorite stem of the year! Kati bought it to decorate her room (chosen for that stem, of course), but she donated it to the cause on Thanksgiving Eve. 

We always sing a hymn before we pray and feast. We have sung "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come," "We Gather Together," and "For the Beauty of the Earth." 

This year Kristin suggested a new one (new to me, at least): "My Heart Is Filled With Thankfulness" by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. What a song! It is my new favorite Thanksgiving hymn because it speaks thanks for our spiritual blessings. (Hear Keith Getty talk about this song ~here~.)  

I am thankful for all of our precious family who gathered to celebrate! I am thankful for the happy noise of young children. I am thankful for teenagers who are more "present" with the adults now. I am thankful for my adult children and for their spouses and that we are friends. I am thankful for my husband and for the life that we have together. I am thankful that my parents are still with me and that they enjoy hanging out with all of us. I am thankful for the servers and for the cleaner-uppers at our Thanksgiving dinner.

Instead of "Wrapping Paper Antics," we had "Table Setting Antics"! You might guess the initiator of this game by the number of times he appears in this collage. 😁 But he was quickly joined in his creativity. (A few more participated, but I didn't get a good photo.)

The grand finale of our feast! 

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; 
let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God 
and the great King above all gods. 
Psalm 95: 2, 3

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