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.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Homeschool and the Germaphobe

I am helping Bekah with her algebra lesson. We read aloud this problem:

The number of bacteria increased by 280 percent overnight. If there were 30,000 bacteria yesterday, how many bacteria were present this morning? 

Bekah wrinkles her nose. "Ewww."

And then, "Maybe they're making yogurt."

That's what they're doing. Of course, they're making yogurt.

And now we can move on and solve the (mathematical) problem.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Rigatoni with Sausage and Spinach

Everyone came home from church hungry (sound familiar?) and we had an appointment later in the afternoon so we were in a bit of a hurry. "How long before we eat?" was the question of the hour. 

Within half an hour, we were passing the Parm! 

If you're in need of a yummy meal in a hurry, this might be it. 

1 pound rigatoni pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
large bag (10-oz) baby spinach
grated Parmesan

Cook pasta as directed on package.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
Saute onion until just beginning to brown.
Add sausage and cook until browned, 4 or 5 minutes.*

Stir in chicken broth, stirring to loosen any brown bits from bottom of pan.
Stir in heavy cream and nutmeg.
Simmer 1 minute; remove from heat.

Place spinach in colander; drain pasta over the spinach.
Return pasta and spinach to pot; toss with sausage mixture.
Serve with grated Parmesan.

* If you like your sauce a little thicker, toss in a tablespoon or so of flour after the sausage is browned.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Gathering the Moments | January

A post Christmas gathering / Waiting for Baby

Peeks at the everyday moments

:: Macie Violet ::

:: Moving day ::

Celebrating Brian's birthday

Sweet mommy/daughter moments

Nora's 7th birthday...including the traditional Birthday Dance!

Meeting new niece/cousin

Around our table...

Continuing the celebration

January was a month of new beginnings.

 Ron returned to work after an extended time of medical leave. His health is restored. He feels great.
 Grand #10, our sweet little Macie Violet, joined the family.
 Ryan began a new position, and he and his precious family moved back "home."

We are embracing the changes! And we are praising the Lord for them!

As always, even in the grand and glorious changes, life is made up of moments. Time spent together. Glances exchanged. Baby snuggles. Shared meals. Hugs. Changing a tiny diaper. Coffee time. A long heart-to-heart sitting in the van in your own driveway. Playing "Apples to Apples" with a new reader. Eighteen for Sunday dinner. Watching the snow. A chat on the way to choir. Hot chocolate with marshmallows and hot chocolate mustaches. Joining the Birthday Dance for the first time. Grand giggles. Watching one grandson bounce as his Daddy sings in church. Watching the other grandson play "air guitar" while his Daddy sings in church. 

Moments to be gathered. Moments to be savored. Moments to be tucked away...into the heart. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Let's Chat! {The Winter Kitchen, A Red Timestick, Time and Focus, Weekend Plans}

In the winter kitchen...

During the snow storm, I decided to make these Magical Meyer Lemon Bars. I had been wanting to try them ever since I saw the recipe at Delightful Repast. I was intrigued that you use the entire lemon(s), peel included. These were a perfect snow day dessert: sweet and sunny and special.  

I cooked up this hearty bean soup using what remained of the Christmas ham. I suppose the Christmas season is officially over now. 

Some precious little ones gathered 'round my kitchen table. We had hot chocolate with special snowflake marshmallows (Thanks, Gammy!) and the sweetest conversation. 

Also in the kitchen...

I won this red TimeStick timer over at Delightful Repast in October (but you know how our October went). I am just now getting around to saying "thank you" for this handy gizmo! All kitchen times are not created equal, and TimeStick is certainly a cut above. It is sturdy. It counts up. It counts down. It sticks to most metal surfaces (I keep mine on the side of my microwave). But you can also put it in your pocket, or use the lanyard to hang it around your neck if you need to go upstairs to make your bed while your cake is in the oven and don't want to miss hearing the beep. :)

Thank you Jean for hosting the giveaway and for my new red (love red!) TimeStick. 

And speaking of time...

Time is something that has eluded me these past months. Focus has eluded me even more!

Oh certainly, life has settled down considerably. Ron is healthy and back to work, Baby Macie is here, and Ryan and family have moved. We are immeasurably grateful for all of these blessings!

But my schedule has not returned to normal. We are in a very busy season of homeschooling.

My mindset has not returned to normal. After all of the changes of the past months, I have not easily fallen back into my routines. Time management is a lifelong struggle for me...even when things are going smoothly.

We are also in a season of making decisions and that has taken quite a bit of my time and mental energy.

All that to say...

Please understand if this blog is a little quieter than it used to be. I have thoughts swirling around up there, but not always the time or the focus to gather them together and do something grand.

Please offer grace if my commenting on your blogs is hit-and-miss. It may be because I have been too busy to visit, or it may be because I am too tired or distracted to put words together cohesively.

This weekend. I have been looking forward to it all week! A little celebration for Nora's 7th birthday today. A big Sunday dinner together tomorrow. For the first time since Ryan has moved back and Macie has been born. For the first time since there have been eighteen of us. {{Joy!!} And Kati is having some friends from work over to play Scrabble tomorrow evening.

Yes, we're busy! But we're busy with good things...and that's the best kind of busy!

Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation!
Psalm 68:19

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Snow Stories

It has been a long time since all four of us spent an entire weekend here at one working, no one shopping or running errands, no one socializing, no one even going to church. Winter storm Jonas offered us two and a half days to slow down. We did a little housework, drank a lot of coffee, ate too much, kept up with the laundry in case we lost power (we didn't), watched videos, cleaned out a couple of closets...and told snow stories.

On Sunday afternoon, I asked everyone to share a snow memory. 

I went first. Of course, I had to tell two because who can decide? And why tell one story when you can tell two? 

I preface mine with the fact that my parents were very protective and if they had had a clue of what we were doing, they'd have both had coronaries. They thought that the church youth were going "sledding" because that's what it was called. But the "sleds" were car hoods that were roped onto the backs of pick-up trucks! Five or six kids would pile on the upside down car hood, and then the driver would drive down a dark, winding country road while we slid around and hung on and had the time of our lives! I didn't know enough to be afraid, and my parents didn't know that the "sleds" were car hoods, and what in the world were the adults in charge thinking? As an adult, I cringe. But oh, did we ever have some fun that night!

My other memory was of a similar incident, only this time Ron and I were married, and we were on the family farm, and the car hood was tied to the back of a tractor driven by Ron's brother. And I was very newly pregnant with my firstborn. (Yikes!) There were young adult brothers and sisters and in-laws and nieces and nephews, and again, we had such fun! 

After I finished, Kati said, "Both of your stories are adventurous, Mom!" Which strikes us all as being ironic as I am truly the least adventurous person that I know. (Who was that crazy person?) 

Kati reminisced about childhood snow days when Ryan still lived at home. His good friend Josh would drive over to our house, and Ryan, Kati, and Josh...and Ryan's black Lab, Buster, who loved snow...would walk back to the woods and shake snow from tree limbs on each other's heads and throw snowballs and make snow angels while Buster tried to lick their faces. They would build a snowman if the snow was right. 

Bekah remembered a time that Sarah (who was not yet Ryan's wife) came over and she built a row of tiny snowmen on the picnic table. Sarah was also snowed in with us one time, and the power went out and we played charades by candlelight. 

Ron's snow story was the most dramatic! He told of a Christmas Eve that his family was returning home from a family Christmas party. It had begun to snow while they were at the party and several inches of fresh snow had already fallen. His father was driving slowly down the highway, when he said, "That looked like a man!" He turned the car around and went back and, sure enough, there was a man lying in the median of the highway! Dad got out of the car, telling Ron's oldest brother to come with him. Ron joined them (he was a preteen at the time) and the three of them approached the man. He was alive and so grateful that they had stopped. He had been walking to the motel across the road where he worked as a night auditor and had fallen in the snow. Being a very large man, he was unable to get up. They helped him to his feet, made sure that he was okay, and on he went to work.

What are your snow memories (dramatic or otherwise)?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


With the harshness of winter settling in this week {snow, bitter temps, a cold virus}, I can only be grateful that it is now rather than...

...when the new baby arrived and we were traveling back and forth with the children between our home and their home and the hospital

...during moving weekend when our family was traveling busy roads in separate vehicles and all of their worldly goods were being hauled into the new house

...when Ron was ill and in the hospital, or even when he was home but using a walker or a cane, and when I was doing the driving. 

Yes, now I have the luxury of staying home and feeding the woodstove and hunkering down. 

Now, we are wintering.
  • Simplifying decor. 
  • Enjoying cozy candlelight.
  • Making soup. Last night it was Baked Potato Soup. Comfort food. 
  • Watching Downton Abbey. Relishing this last season and wondering what winter Sunday evenings will be like without it! 
  • Drinking hot coffee. Drinking hot tea. (Key word: hot.)
  • Getting our school work done...even if it means reading in our pj's while nursing a cold. 
  • Looking at the snowy scenes that are outside our windows.
  • Keeping a few snippings of rosemary on my kitchen window sill.
  • Tackling miniprojects. A miniproject is a little extra task (not one in the normal round of chores) that can be accomplished in 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Crafting. I finally gathered all my supplies for a penny runner. I plan to begin it this week.
  • Planning. Always planning.

And even though this has nothing at all to do with wintering (although she is a winter baby ~smile~), I must show you a picture (or two) (or even three) of Macie. 

Edited to add: 
So far the cold virus has only struck Bekah at our house. But my parents have both been sick and our son's family have all had it.

Are you wintering? What sorts of things are you doing?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Coming Home

It's been a thrilling week for our family, with a couple of significant homecomings! 

First, Macie Violet came home to a houseful of adoring siblings, all eagerly waiting their turn to hold her. 

A few days later, our faraway family moved "home" to Maryland and are no longer far away!

Bekah and I were excited to be able to have the children over while the moving truck was being unloaded. The older children stayed longer, but Baby Paul decided that he'd rather go back to the new house to take his afternoon nap. :)

But even as I ponder how wonderful "home" can be, I acknowledge that even the most loving and comfortable home is the palest shadow of what is to come. As believers, we wander here as sojourners, on the way to our Heavenly home.

"For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come."
Hebrews 13:14

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