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.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Is Springing In The House

When I wrote my series 31 Days to Make a House a Home back in the fall, I told you that I like for my home to have some seasonal touches.  But honestly, this winter was so mild, that spring just kind of slid on in, and my spring decorating has reflected that!  I have been slowly adding spring touches here and there. 

I popped a bit of {faux} greenery into the bean pot that lives with Hudson Lamb on top of the pie safe,   


more {faux} greenery around the candle on the kitchen table, 



and some {faux} forsythia in the crock in the living room.  (Are you seeing a pattern here?)  I think the little wooden bird seems to be singing a welcome to spring!



A bunny made from an old quilt joins more {faux} forsythia by the back door.  (Yep, there's a pattern.  In my house, faux lives remains; real doesn't.  It's that simple.)



Of course, on the first day of spring, Spring Baskets appeared!  (You can read about Spring Baskets, our alternative to Easter baskets, ~HERE~.)




Ther transition into spring will continue.  I need to move the cozy tea tray from the counter, to make room for the rack of white dishes.  I will get out the vintage egg basket and fill it with eggs.  And I will add a few Resurrection Day touches. 

But for now, spring is springing in the house! 



~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Linking up here... 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Daily Light on the Daily Path


One of the best gifts my mom ever gave me was instilling the habit of daily Bible reading.  When I was about seven or eight years old she said that since I was able to read on my own, I should start the day with reading from the Bible, whether it be a chapter or just a verse or two.   

This habit has stayed with from that time.  I won't pretend that there have not been days that I have missed...days of babies and sickness and busyness.  But the habit remains and I am grateful. 

I will also add that I don't see this as a "magic formula" or anything like that.  I have heard people say that their day did not go well because they didn't read their Bible that morning, or conversely, that if they start their day in God's Word, that all is wonderful.  I don't think that I can always see such a correlation.  Nor is there an "aha" moment every single day (although many days there are!). 

Reading my Bible is not a "work" or something that I think will garner me God's favor.  But as I have read God's Word, over and over, over the days, the weeks, the months, and the years, I have grown. A little at a time, I have learned.  Slowly but surely, He has taught me.    


For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept;
line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little. 
(Isaiah 28:10)

The Bible is the living Word of God.  It shows me who God is and what His character is.  It reveals to me His great plan of redemption through Jesus Christ.  It instructs me in righteousness and how I ought to live. 



And now I want to tell you of a resource that I have recently discovered...and I wonder why I have not learned of it before! 

A few weeks ago in our church fellowship on Sunday morning, Phil referred to a passage in that day's Daily Light on the Daily Path.  As Ed and Jill (in whose home we meet) had a copy, Phil read that morning's devotional.

Daily Light is a devotional of scripture verses, compiled by Samuel Bagster (1772-1851).  Bagster arranged the verses thematically, with a morning and an evening theme for each day of the year.  One of the best parts to me is that there is no commentary, not a single man-composed word, but only The Word.* 

Let me give you an example:



MARCH 26, MORNING
I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.  ~  Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strength-ened me.  ~  When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.

Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.  ~  I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore. ~ I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.  ~  My peace I give unto you.

HEB. 13:5. Heb. 13:6. Gen. 28:15. -Deut. 31:6. II Tim. 4:10,16,17. Psa. 27:10. Matt. 28:20. Rev. 1:18. John 14:18. John 14:27.


That same week, we ordered our own copy, a beautiful black leather-bound edition with a ribbon bookmark.  There are many versions available, in different Bible translations, in paperback or hardback.  While waiting for our own Daily Light to arrive, I read the day's passages online.  (If you would like to read online , try ~HERE~.)

I am thoroughly enjoying this new resource for studying God's Word!  Reading verses from so many places in the Bible, all about the same topic, each amplifying the others, is deepening my understanding, and giving new life to daily devotions.


For the word of God is quick, and powerful,
and sharper than any twoedged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12




Are you familiar with Daily Light on the Daily Path?  (Am I the only one who had never seen it?)
What are your favorite devotional books?


~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

* In many current editions, including the one we purchased, there is an introduction and appendices by Anne Graham Lotz, but the original devotional selections are unedited. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Snapshots: Friends

It was an ordinary Sunday.

There was no special meal, just simple fare.  It was not a holiday or someone's birthday.  The kids didn't perform.  There was no spring fashion show, no educational activities

We played our weekly game of Apples to Apples while the children all played or watched Veggie Tales or Arthur streamed from Netflix.  We chatted and exchanged stories from the week and talked about homeschooling and ate toffee chip brownies and laughed and enjoyed one another's company. 

But maybe the ordinary is pretty extraordinary.




Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
for brethren to dwell together in unity!
Psalm 133:1

~*~*~*~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Diary of a Whim {continued}

For the background story, read...

Diary of a Whim {Part 1} ...in which I decide to paint my kitchen cabinets.


Picture from November

DECEMBER:
I (mostly) forget about the painting project.   

JANUARY:
We attempt to settle into our post holiday routine.  I still need to choose a paint color.  I am interested in Pratt & Lambert's Williamsburg® line, but the nearest store is more than an hour's drive away, and I never get around to making the trip. 

Then on a Sunday evening, on the way home from an afternoon spent at Kristin's house, we dash into Walmart for a few items.  We pick up some light bulbs, and then Ron starts looking around the hardware stuff and there is nothing that we girls wish to look at there.  Bekah suggests that we look at their paint chips (love how my girls get excited about home projects with me!).  "At Walmart?," I am thinking.  "They don't even have that many choices."  But since I don't really want to look at switches and wiring and by now I don't even see Ron, we meander over to the paint display. 

Surprise!  I see a chip that looks an awfully lot like the grayish green Williamsburg-y color that I want.  I come home with light bulbs and salad and bread and a paint chip. 

I get out the paint chips that I had put away before Thanksgiving (only the ones that had made the original cut), add the new color, tape them all up on the cabinet doors (again), and look at the colors over the next several days, in morning, afternoon, evening, and artificial light.  I believe this is the right color. 

FEBRUARY:
I am still wondering about the Pratt & Lambert Williamsburg® line.  I begin to think about going on the scouting mission to the store that carries it.  I am also considering another (closer) store that my friend Tamara recommends; they also have a line of colonial colors. 

In the meantime, I am reading "I Painted My Kitchen Cabinets" stories on the internet.  I learn of a new paint by Benjamin Moore® called Advance®.  It has a hard, durable finish, and goes well over oil-based paints or pre-finished surfaces.  There is a local paint store that carries Benjamin Moore® paints.  We had used a Benjamin Moore® paint (not Advance®) when we remodeled our bathroom last spring, and were very happy with the quality. 

I bemoan the fact that I was going to start painting in January and I don't even have my paint yet.  Then Ron proposes a new plan.  Why don't I wait until he has a week's vacation in April?  Then we can all work together.  That plan has tremendous appeal!  I have waited this long; I can wait a bit longer to have a whole week dedicated to the project and to have Ron head it up (as he is the experienced painter and he is fast and I. am. slow). 

I talk about planning a look-at-paint-in-other-towns trip.  Ron recommends that I nix that idea.  His thoughts are..."Are you going to make the trip, bring home chips and then go back to purchase?"  and "Aren't you happy with the color that you found?" and "Why not go with the Benjamin Moore® paint when we have been pleased with the paint and can get it locally?" 

Since Ron is now heading up this project and is even talking about replacing our rust-eaten kitchen sink with a farmhouse sink, and our formica countertops with wood (can you see my huge grin?), I again defer to his judgement.

MARCH:
We take our paint chip in to the local paint store, select the Advance® formula, and have the lady mix the color.  (She does an excellent job!)  So now we have this...




Stay tuned...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Birthday Party With a French Flair

{Warning: Picture overload!}


A month or so before Bekah's 10th birthday, Kristin asked her, "Do you have a theme for your birthday party?" 

"No."

Then, "I-guess-I-could-have-a-French-birthday-party-Kati-could-you-make-me-an-Eiffel-Tower-cake?"

That's how quickly Bekah went from having no idea about her party, to getting an idea, to making some definite plans.  Mere seconds had passed. 

So someone twisted my arm and I began to plan.  I latched on to the idea and my wheels started spinning...and I became an obsessed woman! 




Immediately, I started planning the menu.  As this was to be a family party and we would be having lunch together  as we do every Sunday afternoon, I decided that we'd start with chicken salad on croissants, and cheeses and fruit.  Then we'd go all out for desserts!  Of course, we'd have petit fours.

Everywhere I looked in the next few weeks, I found French-inspired sweets.  But no petit fours.  I visited a few grocery stores in our nearest "big" town, the nicer stores with lovely bakeries.  No petit fours.  I asked my friend Barbara who knows about such things...and she did know.  She told me that a store about forty minutes from me had beautiful petit fours in their bakery.  So on a gray, rainy day, the girls and I made the drive, and came home with eighteen petit fours (plus a few more items) and the thrill of success!






I googled some ideas for French-themed parties.  I decided that I wanted to have an awning, to create a French cafe ambience.  No, the more I thought about it, I needed an awning. 

I thought and thought.  Paper?  Plastic?  Ask Ron to make one out of wood?  And where do I hang it?  How do I hang it?  I asked my family for advice.  I asked my facebook friends for advice.  I thought and thought some more.  For days.  Obsessed?, you ask.  I was. 

Finally, late one Friday night after everyone else in the house had gone to bed, it came to me!  The striped vinyl table cloth that I had bought for the picnic table!  YES!  I went to bed a happy woman.  And the next day, Kati  and I made that awning!



We cut the scallops, using a bowl as a guide.  We drew window boxes on a piece of newsprint.  We borrowed my mom's café sign that she has in her dining room.  (She is a Francophile like Bekah.)  And we brought in some of the wrought iron patio furniture.  Voilà A French café




The day of the party was bright and sunny, outside and inside!  This scene greeted our family guests. (The Eiffel Tower was also borrowed from Mom.)

To add to the atmosphere, we played French café  music via grooveshark.  (If you'd like to listen as you continue reading the post, click ~HERE~.  The link will open in a new window, so you can easily come back to the post.  When you open the link, click "show more songs", and then click "play all".)



The café scene was the perfect place for pictures!





"When is it time to eat?  I think I like French food!"





 The young guests created some sidewalk art.


These decorated pretzels were party favors, although if I recall, some didn't make it home.



When Bekah opened her presents, I noticed that I am not the only one who can become theme-obsessed.  Just sayin'.



Did I mention that we were "going all out" for desserts?  I see nine (NINE!) on the table.  And we hadn't gotten the glace (ice cream) out yet.  No one complained.



Although I LOVE parties, and I love to plan them, I don't always do such deluxe things.  (I shared ~HERE~ about a party that came together the very morning of the party!)  This one lent itself to some ideas magnifique, and we had a blast!  But the real reward was the memories that were made!  It was a special day and Bekah has talked about her 10th birthday party all year long!


{To those of you who are still here, thanks for hanging with me! ~smile~ }

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Note Card Party: Windows


When we go out to a restaurant, I often have a difficult time deciding what to order. I peruse the menu over and over, and ask everyone else what they're getting. (After all, if someone orders something that I really like, I will wish that I had gotten it myself.) I hem and haw until the waiter comes and asks if everyone is ready to order. I say, "I can be," so as not to frustrate my husband who has known what he wants long ago. At this point, my strategy for decision-making is to go last, and when it is my turn and I can't put it off any longer, I just pick something from my list of choices. Sometimes I surprise myself with what I order!

I have approached this Note Card Party in much the same way. I have thought about what pictures to choose since the day that Vee introduced the idea. And I have hemmed and hawed until tonight, when the moment of decision arrived and I couldn't put it off any longer. And I did surprise myself!  In a last minute stroll through some old blog posts, I hit upon a theme...windows.

The idea was to select four favorite photographs that have appeared on your blog, ones that you think would work well for a set of note cards.  So here goes...


A Winter Window
candlelight, winter berries, cozy quilt square, neutral colors
 


A Spring Window
forsythia, April showers, sage candle




A Summer Window
cheery geraniums peeking in, rosemary wreath, the kitchen sink



An Autumn Window
through the kitchen doorway, black bowback Windsor, pyracantha with berries




While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat,
and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
Genesis 8:22


Click ~HERE~ to see more of the Note Card Party! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Snapshots: A Bit of The Emerald Isle

Although we do not "celebrate" St. Patrick's Day, we did enjoy an Irish meal today, as a nod to my husband's (and therefore my children's) Scotch-Irish ancestry, and because brisket is on sale.  On the menu was corned beef and cabbage, potatoes, and Irish soda bread, with Irish potato candy for dessert. 



Eight of us wore green (even if it was just a touch).



The serial play is over, but that didn't keep the performers from putting on a show!  "Just a short one," they said.  It was a selection of choreographed songs, including "I'm a Little Tea Pot" and "The Hokey Pokey."




What?  No Irish step dancing? 




Friday, March 16, 2012

A Cardinal Sin?

I spent most of last week at home with a sick child.  I spent most of the week before that at home without transportation (my vehicle was in the shop). 

I have told you many times that I am a homebody, so being "stuck" at home is not a great imposition to me; in fact, I quite enjoy having "at home" days. 

There's only one problem.  Life goes on regardless, so when all is well, there is a lot of catching up to do!  That's where I have been this week...in the Land of Catching Up.  The Land where there are piano lessons to make up and school projects to catch up on and groceries to purchase and various and sundry errands to run.  It was a good week, a productive week, but one which did not allow me a lot of computer time...at least during the times when my brain was awake. 




Bekah has a birthday coming up in a few weeks.  It is hard for me to believe that my youngest will be eleven years old.  When she was born, it felt like I was starting all over.  Kati was seven, Ryan was in college, and Kristin was working and engaged to be married!  But all of a sudden, this baby is going to be eleven and she is wearing a size 6 shoe and she keeps growing taller and she likes to help me cook and she teaches me things on the computer and reminds me of things I said and relates to me the cute things her nieces and nephews say and do. 

Yesterday, one of our errands in the Land of Catching Up was a library run.  The usual parking lot attendant is an elderly man who is always grumpy.  Always.  He only speaks if you have a parking fee (which isn't often, since you can park two hours with no charge), and then he grumbles the amount.  So we were suprised when a different attendant greeted us with a warm smile and a "Have a nice day." 

Kati remarked, "It doesn't take a whole lot to make you feel like it really is okay to come to the library and park in the parking lot."   

"Yes," I concurred.  "The other man makes you feel like it's a cardinal sin to park here." 

Bekah jumped into the conversation.  "Why isn't it a 'blue jay' sin?  Blue jays do more sins.  They're the ones who steal eggs from other birds."

Of course, we all laughed.  I realized, however, that she wasn't hearing the term "cardinal sin" and reacting with a child's understanding.  This was different.  She was taking a bit of knowledge, using a play on words of sorts, and intentionally making a witty comment. 

Yes, she is growing up.  I will no longer be able to tell you stories of all the cute things she says, as I did when I first began blogging here at Thinking About Home.  I must respect her need to be free to express herself without fear of ending up starring in a blog story.  (She is always saying funny things though, and is usually generous about letting me share them.)



Speaking of Bekah's birthday, I never showed you pictures of her French-themed party last year.  It was her favorite party ever!  She still talks about it!  It suited her to a T...full of glitz and glamour.  Maybe it's not too late...


Monday, March 12, 2012

Choosing Blogs

A week or so ago, my blog friend Vee (who writes at " A Haven For Vee") began a discussion about what she looks for in a blog.  That discussion caused me to consider just what it is that draws me to a blog on a regular basis. 



What do I look for in a blog? How do I choose which to read?

There are two things that bring me back to a blog over and over again. Some blogs have one of those things; some blogs have the other. A few have both.


I read to learn.
Maybe the blog has inspiring devotionals or sermons.  Or maybe it simply offers decorating tips or recipes or advice on entertaining.


I read because I have found a kindred spirit, an online friend.
You kind of know as you read her words, over time, that this person feels as you do about the important things, that you would be friends in person if circumstances allowed. You would love to chat over a cup of tea.



Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name.
Malachi 3:16

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Snapshots: Spring Fashions

~ swirling ~

~ dancing ~

~ twirling ~

~ giggling ~

~ posing ~

Trying on spring clothes



 No pictures of the crying toddler
who did not see the fun in trying on clothes,

nor of the drop-in guests
who shared coffee and cookies and conversation,

nor of the boys
who were entertained by techno gadgets this afternoon.


***


But at the end of the day, we were assured that none of these little girls need be bare this spring and summer!





"So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."
Matthew 6:28,29





Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wonderful, Merciful Savior

Thoughts for the weekend...

Oh He is a wonderful, merciful Savior!  How often I find myself, in weakness, falling before His throne... falling on His mercy

Friday, March 9, 2012

Soup On Tuesday {Round Up}



Because I like an index of sorts to order my thoughts, I have created this reference page to all the soup recipes I have featured here over the winter.  











The soups...CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT:

Sausage Bean Chowder (scroll to the bottom of post)



Thursday, March 8, 2012

"New" Dishes: In Which I Share A Cheap Fix


I have had my white Pfaltzgraff Heritage pattern dishes for years.   I love them for their classic design, and for the fact that they go with everything.  I can layer them with brown transferware on my Thanksgiving table, or mix them up with pastel serving platters for a Mother's Day meal.  They blend in with any birthday decorations.  And they're simple enough for everyday meals. 

But lately, I have been looking to replace my dishes.  Not because I am tired of them or want something new (in fact, I did an online search for the same dishes!), but because they were looking tired and old and...gray.  Really.  The center of every plate had taken on a gray tone, and there were gray lines all over each one. 

How can one set a pretty table with these dishes? 



My online search was a bit discouraging.  I did not need complete sets of Heritage dishes.  We had originally purchased two sets at a Pfaltzgraff outlet store, and I still had the other pieces that I needed (soup bowls, salad plates, dessert plates).  I looked into purchasing the plates individually, but they were $7.99 for each plate.  That is certainly not an unreasonable price.  But we had added to our original sets by purchasing individual plates a few at a time at the outlet store...to the tune of $1.99 per plate, or occasionally $0.99 per plate!  We now had sixteen (gray) dinner plates.  To replace all sixteen would be $64, plus tax and shipping, considerably more than the original "bargain" price. 

So I put my plan for new plates on hold, and gave myself time to consider. 

And thenlo and behold!I was browsing on Pinterest this week, and there was a Pin about removing scratches from white dishes! 

What?  Those gray marks are scratches?  All this time I thought the grayness must be a chemical change, perhaps resulting from age, or from being run through the dishwasher a gazillion times!  (If you already knew that these were scratches, feel free to call me a ditz in the comment section.  ~smile~)

So what is the secret to making my gray dishes white again? 

It is my new BFF, Bar Keepers Friend. 

A friend had introduced me to this product a few years ago, and I was amazed at how it removed iron stains from my old farmhouse bathtub and bathroom sink.  But it never would have occured to me to use it on my gray dishes. 

Since I keep Bar Keepers Friend on hand, I gave it a try...and the results are astounding!  Even with all that gray, a little bit of BKF, a little bit of elbow grease, and there you have it!  Beautiful WHITE dishes!



Is this not amazing? 




I think I'll go set a pretty table!  



Don't you just love a cheap fix?




I am linking to Finished Friday over at Allyson's A Heart For Home

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