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, June 27, 2012

The Bathroom: A Year Later {And Hiding Ugly Stuff}

I kind of left you hanging out in the bathroom.  

No, not literally.  But last May, I decided to show you the "after" pictures of our newly remodeled bathroom when the major work was completed, but before some of the finishing touches were in place.  

The unfinished business was: 
  1. Making a curtain 
  2. Choosing a toilet paper holder
  3. Finding something to put on that empty wall.  

And thirteen months later, it's all done.



The first thing on the list was actually the first thing completed.  I already had the fabric when I posted the "afters," but had chosen to make the vanity skirt and lid cover before the curtain.  I decided to make a valance, and this simple project was finished in an afternoon.  




The second thing was a bit more complicated.  I had an idea of what I wanted, but finding it was no easy task.  Lowe's and Home Depot just don't carry colonial farmhouse-y style toilet paper holders.  Online shopping was the way to go, and we finally found this wrought iron holder in a price we could both live with.  




The last component was even more of a challenge.  I needed something to put on that plain wall.  The bathroom is pretty small and I thought that too many small pieces would be gobby.  But what kind of large piece would fill the wall and look bathroom-ish, without dominating the space?  

When I saw this antique cabinet, I knew my search was over.  Well not exactly.  I did have to convince Ron to make a similar one (pretty easy).  And then he did have to work it into his project list (not so easy).  But in April, just before we plunged into the kitchen remodel, he finished the cabinet and hung it on the wall...and I quickly filled it!



It is the perfect thing for that wall!  The scale is right for the space  But even more importantly, it hides ugly stuff!  

I've told you that one of my main principles of storage is to do just that...hide ugly stuff.   Anytime I can find an attractive container, cabinet, or basket in which to hide stuff, that is what I'm going to do.  This bathroom cabinet holds tons of beauty products and frees up some space in my small laundry room.  Yippee!





It may have taken nearly a year to get it all together (and I confess that I was getting awfully tired of looking at that bare wall!), but I'm glad that we waited for all the right ingredients.  In the long run, it saves money, and the result is a finished product that makes you happy over the long term.  



Bathroom remodel posts:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Salad On Tuesday: Week 3 {Layered Caribbean Chicken Salad}


My friend Jill makes some wonderful salads, and she was kind enough to share three of her favorite summer salad recipes with me.  

Last week we made her Layered Caribbean Chicken Salad and have deemed it a favorite here at our house too!  It is a healthy, flavorful, and filling salad.  Even my salad skeptic enjoyed it.  The girls and I liked it so much that we made a scaled down version (no layers, a few missing ingredients, but with the yummy dressing) for lunch a few days later.  Oh, this one is a keeper!







Dressing Ingredients:
  • 1 6-oz. container of low fat pina colada yogurt 
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 teaspoon Caribbean jerk seasoning*
Salad Ingredients:
  • 3 cups torn Romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups diced peeled ripe fresh mango
  • 1/2 cup chopped Roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup cashews

Directions:
  1. In small bowl, mix dressing ingredients.
  2. In a 3- to 4-qt. clear glass serving bowl, layer all salad ingredients in order except nuts.  
  3. Spoon dressing over evenly, then sprinkle with nuts. 



* I had difficulty finding Caribbean jerk seasoning mix.  I looked in Walmart, then in a larger grocery store in a nearby town, with no luck.   So we made our own seasoning mix using the recipe found ~here~.   Of course, the next time I went to Walmart, there it was on. the. shelf.  They must have restocked it.  At least that's what I'm telling myself because I don't want to believe that I spent all that time looking for it the previous week if it was there all the time. Surely they had restocked.  



Do you like the look of layered salads?  Do you think that food attractively presented somehow tastes better?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Snapshots: The Playmate

Today Kristin and Brian and the kids were out of town, and Kati was at their house taking care of their dog and hanging out with Alaine (21 months) who was not going on the trip.  

Here at home, we invited Ron's sister and brother-in-law over to watch (are you ready for this?) a youtube video of an actual hip replacement surgery.  Do we know how to have fun or what?  Tommy actually had this surgery in April, performed by this very same doctor in the video, and he was now curious to see the nuts and bolts of what had gone on in his hip.  So there we sat, the four of us, around the computer for an hour and a half, saying things like "wow" and "oh my" and "ooooooo."   

Yes, it was quite a different Sunday.  Usually Bekah has five playmates and fun and games and kid chatter.

Today...hip surgery.

What's a girl to do?

Well, she finished reading Five Little Peppers and How They Grew.  And she played with the only playmate in the house.  (Who was happy to oblige, I might add.)


Hide and Seek


How did you find me?


Who was that silly cat?


I think I'll just wash my arm.



(All photos by Bekah)





Saturday, June 23, 2012

Two Out of Three

At the end of yesterday's post, I posed a question.  What are you looking forward to this summer?  My bloggy friend Deanna included "air conditioning" in her response, and then went on to write a post about the blessings of air conditioning on her own blog.  


All this has me thinking about the BAC (Before Air Conditioning) days here at the farmhouse.  Yes, there were many years that we lived without air conditioning.  And if you know how much I dislike hot-and-humid, and count in the fact that my first two babies were born in August, you might imagine that I was an unhappy camper.  But I was young back then (in my 20's), and got through it fairly well with fans in every room and lots of freeze pops.  



But when I was pregnant with Kati (in my 30's), the day came that I phoned Ron at work, crying, totally overwhelmed by the heat.  And that is the summer that we had central air conditioning installed downstairs.  Oh happy day!  

Then the spring that we brought our tiny preemie Bekah home from the hospital (in my 40's), we decided that it was time to have the upstairs cooled as well.  That was the summer that we had central air conditioning installed upstairs.  Oh happy day!

If we had had another baby, I was going for the in ground pool.  

But two out of three ain't bad.  


Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer: It's Here

Yes it is.  The scientists who keep track of such things as solstices and all that say so.  The soaring temperatures say it too.  And summer has begun at our house.  




This week...
  • Bekah, in no particular hurry, completed her "formal" studies for her 5th grade year.  We are officially on summer break.

  • We made a trip to the beach...on the hottest day of the year so far.  (More cute pictures over at Kristin's blog today!)

  • We ate this yummy salad.  (Look for the recipe this coming Tuesday.)

  • I began my list of summer projects.  Mostly cleaning and organizing types of projects, although I do hope to get the rest of the kitchen painted.  The "new" part kind of shows up the old part.


So here we go...





What are you looking forward to this summer?



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Note Card Party: The Back Door




Since this is the fourth time that I have joined the party at Vee's Haven
I am thinking that you all must be back door friends by now!  

Come on in!






The LORD shall preserve thy going out
and thy coming in from this time forth,
and even for evermore.
~ Psalm 121:8






Do you have a blog?  Then you can join this party! 
Click the button for details...




A Haven for Vee

Monday, June 18, 2012

Salad On Tuesday: Week 2 {Pesto Pasta Salad}


The girls and I recently attended a baby shower luncheon, hosted by my good friend Jodi who happens to be a cook extraordinaire.  There were many beautiful and tasty offerings, but a Mediterranean-style pasta salad got my attention, and I knew that I would try to replicate it.  

Here is my version of Jodi's Pesto Pasta Salad. 





Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. box penne (I used Barilla PLUS® multi-grain pasta)
  • 1 8-oz. jar pesto
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved 
  • 1 10-oz. can black olives, drained
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese

Directions:
  1. Cook penne according to package directions.  Drain and cool.
  2. In a large bowl, toss cooled penne with pesto.  
  3. Stir in tomatoes, black olives, and feta. 



On the night that I made this, I served it as a side salad, along with pepperoni and mozzarella paninis.  It was delicious, but the combination was a bit heavy, especially for a summer meal.  Perhaps the next time I make it, I will add a little pepperoni or salami to the salad and try it as a main dish.  

I'm also planning to try making my own pesto as soon as my basil plants have enough leaves.  I think it would be fun to use homemade pesto in this salad.  

If you're in the mood for a little taste of the Mediterranean, this salad just might hit the spot!

Have you ever made homemade pesto?  Do you have a good recipe you're willing to share? 

Sunday Saturday Snapshots: Father's Day



To accommodate schedules, our Father's Day celebration was on Saturday evening.  

We began with a Man's Meal
roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, and some favorite sides.


(I didn't get pictures of the food, but we did take some pictures of the nautical theme decorations before everyone arrived.  Because we're obsessive like that.)



The weather was just too gorgeous on Saturday evening, 
so after dinner we went outside for father photos... 

Brian with his boys

Ron with his girls

My dad with his daughters


...and stayed outside for coffee and dessert...




...a little cuddling...




...and some tokens of love. 










Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fathers

We always make a big deal out of Mother's Day and Father's Day.

There are those who say that such holidays were created by people who wanted to sell cards. Years ago, one friend told me, "I don't need gifts or cards because I am a mother; I don't do what I do so that I can be appreciated."  Another friend encouraged her husband to do something for his own mother, but not for herself.  

Honestly, I can see the point in all of those perspectives.  And these celebrations certainly are not Biblically mandated; they are recent observances in the scope of history.  


My dad with my sister and me, 1963


But I choose to celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day because I wish to honor the role of mother and father.  

When my husband gives me a card and chooses to give me a gift, he is saying to my children, Mom is doing an important job, and I appreciate it.  He is honoring the role of "mother."  And when I do the same for him, I am saying, "Your father is an honorable man and you are blessed that he is your father."  

When we give to our parents, we are obeying the Biblical command to "Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you."  (Exodus 20:12)

When I give a gift to my own son (who is a father), or to my daughter (who is a mother), or to my son-in-law or my daughter-in-law,  I am acknowledging and appreciating the challenging but vitally important job that they are doing.


So this weekend, we will honor fathers, and their unique position in the family.  

I will honor my husband Ron whose quiet strength, sincere desire to do right, and love for the Lord has made him a wonderful father.

I will honor my own father whose integrity and hard work has made him a good example to his children and grandchildren.

I will honor my son-in-law Brian whose servant heart and selfless giving have been a tower of strength to His family.

I will honor my son Ryan across the miles, as he faithfully leads and trains his family in righteousness.

I will honor my father-in-law who, although He passed away almost a year ago, has left behind a story of God's grace.


And we will thank our Heavenly Father for His grace.

The grace that He gives to imperfect human beings, the grace that enables them to be fathers and mothers and raise children in this sin-cursed world.  The grace that takes their imperfect efforts and uses them anyway.

The grace that He gives to children whose parents are poor reflections of His glory.  The grace that He offers to those who will accept Him.  The grace that He extends to be the "father to the fatherless." (Psalm 68:5)

The grace that He gives to those who have lost their earthly father...as Ron did this year, as the children of my dear friend whose father passed so quickly last summer.  Again, that promise that He will be the "father to the fatherless."  


And for this grace...



But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, 
made of a woman, made under the law,

To redeem them that were under the law, 
that we might receive the adoption of sons.

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

(Galations 4:4-6)


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


Linking up with Lorraine at 
With a Grateful Prayer and a Thankful Heart


Friday, June 15, 2012

A Tease



Would you hate me if I told you that I am ready for fall?  That  yesterday in Hobby Lobby my heart skipped a beat because they had one aisle set up with fall goodies?  That I sniffed a pumpkin candle and ogled fall wreaths and garland?  And that I was ready to trade in the whole of summer in order for autumn to begin right now?  

You summer lovers cannot imagine that I could say such things.  And since there is nothing I can do about it anyway, it really doesn't matter that I think it.  

And because I care about you, I want you to enjoy your beachy, gardeny, lazy, hazy, crazy hot summer for all it's worth!   

But if you need to run into Hobby Lobby for some embroidery floss or some scrapbook paper, you may just see me there on the first aisle sniffing that pumpkin candle.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Salad On Tuesday: Week 1 {BLT Macaroni Salad}

After a crazy post-holiday day last January, I hatched a plan to make a different soup every Tuesday throughout the winter.  I served some tried-and-true soups, but I also experimented with new recipes and found a couple of winners!  

As hot weather approached, I wondered if I could rise to a new challenge and serve a different salad every week throughout the summer.  This one will be a little harder to do successfully, mostly because Ron is not a huge fan of salad, especially when served as THE dinner.  But I am going to try, with a mix of main dish type of salads and side salads.  (Gotta keep hubby happy!)  

I'll begin this series with one of our tried-and-true salads.  I found this recipe several years ago in an e-mail from Gooseberry Patch.  (Do you receive their e-letters?)  I have made this at least once or twice every summer since...and it is a main dish salad that Ron likes!  Of course, the fact that bacon is an ingredient doesn't hurt.  

Here is the recipe for BLT Macaroni Salad, with my own tweaks.  (I included the link to the original below my recipe.)  







Ingredients:
  • 8-oz. package elbow macaroni, cooked
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 6 slices bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces and cooked
  • 1/2 cup salad dressing (as in Miracle Whip)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon each, salt and pepper
  • lettuce


Directions:
  1. Mix macaroni, bacon pieces, and tomato halves in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, combine salad dressing, sour cream, mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper to make dressing.
  3. Pour the dressing over the macaroni mixture and toss until well mixed.
  4. Serve over a plate of torn lettuce or your favorite boxed salad mix.



*  For original recipe from Gooseberry Patch, click ~here~.


What about you?  Do you make more salads in the summer?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Snapshots: Aunt Kati "Shoots" the Kids

This afternoon, as on every Sunday afternoon, I got out my camera to take a cute shot of the grands, and-- shock and horror! --nothing happened.  After my initial panic, I realized that my battery was dead.  Blah.  

I plugged the battery into the charger, and can you guess when it was fully charged?  Yep, right about the time Kristin, Brian, and the kids were leaving to go home.  No Sunday Snapshots today.  

But wait!  

Kati has been doing photo shoots of each of her nieces and nephews in the past several weeks, and she allowed me to borrow a few of her pictures.  Hooray!  (Thanks, Kati!)







I posted only one photo of each of the children 
(do you know how hard it is for a Gran to do that?)
but you can see more of the photos at Kati's blog, 

Photo Shoot {Part 3} coming this week...
Photo Shoot {Part 3}





Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The New Kitchen {Finally!}


If you have remained interested in this "Diary of a Whim" that began back in November, I am amazed! Who knew that it would take nearly seven months from the beginning to the end of the project? Technically though, a good part of the seven months was thinking and planning. The actual work did not begin until mid-April, which really makes it more like seven weeks. (And as long as that has seemed, it pales in comparison to the kitchen remodel that we did in 1996. That whole process gives me the willies to this day. It even included a reptile. But that's another story.)


So here it is...the finished project!








As you know, we did the remodel project in two phases.  Phase One was the painting of the kitchen cabinets.     Phase Two included the installation of the farmhouse sink, wood counter top, beadboard backsplash, and new lighting.  I will show you pictures of the kitchen Before, Between (after the completion of Phase One), and After (at the end of Phase Two).

Starting at the left...





...on to the front view (looking from the eating/sitting area)...





...and on to the right.





Here are a few more views...


From this perspective, you can see that this part of the kitchen was once a porch.  An old house is full of interesting angles and quirks.


A close-up of the sink.  I love this sink.  It is so farmhouse-y...and big.  (When he saw it, my dad said that a person could take a bath in it!)



A cozy corner...



Close-ups of the butcher block counter top and the beadboard backsplash.




And this is a trivet that I found in the back of a cupboard during the remodel.  I have no recollection of where I got it or how long I've had it.  It could be something I picked up in an antique shop or at a yard sale, or it could be a family piece.  But regardless, I decided to clean it up and make it a part of the new kitchen.




At the end of the photo shoot, Kati made us some celebratory iced coffee.




We know how to celebrate!  
(Thanks for celebrating with us, friends!)






I am linking up with Tracy at Beneath My Heart!
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