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.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Baby Sister Turns 50!

My earliest memory is peeking into the bassinet at my new baby sister, Linda.  It was the beginning of a life-long relationship.  As little girls, we shared a room, played paper dolls, acted out the Rogers and Hammerstein version of "Cinderella" (we took turns being Cinderella), sang together in church, and shared secrets.  As older girls, we shared clothes and friends and more secrets.  When we became adults, we continued our sister-bond as we married and raised children who were close in age, and went shopping and traded babysitting and stories and laughs.  We are sisters and we are friends.

When Linda and I were teenagers, people often asked which one of us was older.  I was terribly offended.  Mom always told me that one day I'd love for someone to ask me that, but that was no comfort at age 15.  I was two years and four months older for Heaven's sake!  

No one asks us that any more.  (Bummer.)  

Today, my much younger sister turned fifty.  We celebrated this milestone with a wonderful meal, special gifts, festive decorations (including a large picture of Linda from every decade), and funny stories about the birthday girl.  Good times!  

Beautiful in every decade!

One of the best things about being 50?  Being old enough to be a grandmother!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Reflections {2012}

As I have wandered through my last year's posts, reflecting and trying to put together a year in review, so to speak, I have decided that my blog doesn't fit any of the typical blog genres. I am all over the place!  Thinking About Home is not a food blog, even though I share recipes.  It's not a house blog, although I show you my seasonal decorations.  Mine is not a homeschool blog, but I talk about our homeschool quite a bit.  It's not a DIY blog, although I share all of our house projects and an occasional craft idea.  And then there are the musings and ponderings...

Nevertheless, I have gathered a few highlights from my blog over the past year.  Of course, these are the highlights from my own perspective.  And, of course, they are all over the place!

I made the short story long as I told you about a special Christmas gift and how it involved a conversation with a celebrity!  

As I do several times each year, I shared our current Morning Time, but this time I followed it with

This was one of those months with lots of musings.  I related a story of one of God's gentle nudges to my mother's heart.  

And then I pondered what it means to be "older" and invited my readers to participate in the discussion.

I shared a household hint that I discovered via Pinterest, a way to remove scratch marks from white dishes.  Who knew that this simple tip would become (also thanks to Pinterest) the most viewed post of my entire blog?!  Not I!  

All the way until April, you hung with me as we painted our kitchen cabinets, a project that I had been yammering about off and on for six months.

I ask myself some hard questions in

After months of talking about it, and weeks of doing it, and then a computer glitch that prevented me from sharing it, I posted photos of our completed kitchen remodel.

And then more ponderings, this time about the role of "father."

Big changes were afoot in July, as our son Ryan and his family moved across country.  It was all I could talk about.  You prayed with me as they traveled, and you rejoiced with me when they arrived at their destination.  (Thank you again.)

August was a serial month, I suppose.
I did a mini series about getting started in homeschooling, beginning with this post

and I finished my "Salad on Tuesdays" series with

This month found me relishing the beginning of my favorite season.  No less than seven posts had the words "autumn" or "fall" in the title!  From back-to-school to autumn crafts to decorating the Farmhouse, it was all about autumn.  One of my favorite posts was this one, mostly because of the photographic record of a simple and satisfying ordinary kind of day.

For 31 days in October, I challenged us to consider our views on hospitality.

The highlight of our month (our year?) was our beautifully blessed Thanksgiving weekend, when Ryan and family came for a visit, and our family was all together under one roof!  Life (this earthly life, that is) just doesn't get much better than that.  I shared our Thanksgiving photos here...
With Thankful Hearts
(and I shared our family picture ~here~...and kept on sharing ~here~ and ~here~ and ~here~and ~here~.)

More musings as I shared a quote, a song, some thoughts.  I took you on a house tour

and shared our family's Christmas celebration in

Yes, I am truly "all over the place", although mostly at home.  Thank you to all of you who take the time to visit my little blog and take a peek into my home and listen in on my musings!  

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Memory-Making Moments {Christmas 2012}

And thou shalt have joy and gladness;
and many shall rejoice at His birth.
Luke 1:14

Christmas Eve

Christmas morning

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

Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.
2 Corinthians 9:15

[He] giveth us richly all things to enjoy.
1 Timothy 6:17

"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree."
Roy L. Smith

P.S.  Kati has a couple of cute Christmas pics on her blog today!  

Monday, December 24, 2012

"Guess What, Guys!"

On November 26, my four-year-old grandson Benjamin awoke and wandered out into the living room where his mama had placed a few wrapped gifts under their newly decorated Christmas tree. In his first-thing-in-the-morning confusion (or maybe a bit of wishful thinking), he bolted back to his bedroom and shouted to his brothers, "Guess what, guys!  You're not going to believe's CHRISTMAS EVE!"

It's probably been a long four weeks for Benjamin.  

For me?  Not so much.  And probably not for the other adults in Ben's life.  And probably not for you either.  

The whirlwind of those four weeks has passed...and here we are today, preparing for tomorrow's Christmas breakfast and afternoon buffet.  This evening is pizza (it's tradition!) and stockings and The Homecoming and gifts exchanged between Ron and me before the flurry of activity tomorrow...a  quiet, restful evening.

Back to work for me...and for you, my prayers for a glorious celebration of our Savior's coming!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

"The Word Became Flesh"

Many years, a particular line from a Christmas carol will catch my attention and make its way into my heart.  One year it was the words "with the dawn of redeeming grace" and I pondered the dawn, the beginning of day -- the first peek, of His great grace that would redeem man.  Another time it was "God with man is now residing" and I marveled at the profound truth and the absurdity that the Creator God would choose to reside with man.

This year, the phrase that has stood out to me is this...

"Word of the Father, 
now in flesh appearing!"

The Word of the living God...coming in flesh, in human form...Immanuel..."God with us"...incomprehensible!

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.  John 1:14


May the Word of Life be real to you this Christmas, as you ponder the meaning of His coming!  Merry, merry Christmas to you!

Friday, December 21, 2012

No Fingerprints

My back door looked like this for weeks.  I don't think that they show very clearly in this photo, but there are fingerprints all over the lower panes.  Small fingerprints.  Made by the sweet little fingers of my faraway grandchildren.  And although the children have been gone since the Monday after Thanksgiving, I could not bring myself to clean the marks off of my back door.   

So while I was decking the halls for Christmas, the fingerprints remained.

Kati invited some friends over for games and Christmas treats in early December, and I fully intended to clean the door before her friends came.  But that evening found me scurrying around to get ready for my shopping date with Ron, and I forgot.

So I just never got around to doing it.  And all during the month, I'd look over at those panes and smile, remembering.

On Tuesday, my friend Mary called to say that she was stopping by to drop something off.  And the fingerprints of Eve, Nora, and Peter had become mixed with those of the nearby grands and our own month's worth of fingerprints and the cats' nose prints.  And I decided that it was time to make those panes sparkle again.

But the clean glass does not sparkle as much as the memories that are living in my heart.   

And besides, I have my stones.  

The morning they left, as we were saying our good-byes, Eve bent down and picked up a stone out of the driveway, handed it to me, and said, "This is to remember me by."  Then Nora also handed me a stone.  I tucked them into my pocket, and after we had watched until their car was no longer in sight, I brought those stones in and set them on the windowsill above my kitchen sink.  

Yes, Eve and Nora, I remember.

And isn't that what Christmas is to the believer...a remembrance?  Our meager attempt at remembering His coming?  A few tangible ways to point to the Word made flesh, and to share our joy at what that means?  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Note Card Party: Faux, Faux, Faux!

I am a big fan of home decor, that is.  Faux lasts longer.  Faux does not demand special care. Faux substitutes when the real cannot be had.  So I unashamedly take advantage of faux elements when decorating for Christmas, sometimes combining them with the authentic.  

Can you identify the faux in these four photos, my choices for Vee's December note card party?

Dining Room Mantel ~ Della Robbia Garland

Did you guess?  The pineapple is faux, as are the pomegranates, pine cones, and the garland of greenery.  The oranges and the brown pods are real.  


Are you getting tired of seeing these pomanders?  ;)  I told you how to make them ~here~, and then they appeared ~here~, and again ~here~, so you may already know that these are made with faux fruit.  

Rosemary Wreath

The wreath, too, is faux.  I once made a wreath of fresh herbs, and I loved it!  I even loved it after it dried, and I hung it in this same window over my kitchen sink.  But the kitchen sink is a busy place and over the weeks (months?) that it hung there, it was bumped and it crumbled a little at a time.  When I saw this faux rosemary wreath in Target, I grabbed it too quick to talk about, and here it hangs years later.  However, the little sprigs of rosemary peeking up from a windowsill vase in the bottom corner of the photo?  They're real, snipped from my own herb garden.  

Mantel Top Display

Today, Kati taught me a new word: fantel.  Have you ever heard this word?  I had not.  

Apparently, fantel means "faux mantel."  And that is the "faux" part of my final photo.  It is not a mantel at all, but is a surface that I have treated as a mantel.  

I was inspired by a photo in an old Country Home magazine. Stylist Matthew Mead had lined up candles across a cabinet top "as a welcoming alternative to a roaring fire," and I thought "why not?" I added the pops of red berries as Matthew did, and went so far as to hang our stockings on the cabinet's knobs.  We have been calling it our "faux mantel"...until today.  From now on, it will be known as my "fantel," at least at Christmastime.  

Why don't you consider joining
this month's note card party
over at Vee's Haven?

(Click the button for details.)

A Haven for Vee

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Colonial Farmhouse Christmas

It's Christmas at the Farmhouse!

If you were here this evening... 

You would hear Bekah (11) playing on the piano one of my favorite carols, "Angels From the Realms of Glory." You would smell the pungent aroma of Village Candle's "Christmas Tree" candle. Mmmm... You could taste some applesauce cake, or some Crinkle Top Molasses Cookies made by Kati and still warm from the oven. You would feel all warm and cozy, in contrast to the damp chill just outside the door.

But since you can't all be here, you'll just have to see how we have decked our halls in preparation for gathering with our family and friends to celebrate The One who has come, our Messiah!

Joy to the World, the Lord has come! ♫

Glimpses of the farmhouse kitchen...

Peeking into the farmhouse dining room...

Glances into the farmhouse living room...

Thank you for stopping by to have a peek at our farmhouse!

Do you love house tours like I do?
If so, you can virtually traipse through
myriads of houses dressed in their holiday best
just by clicking on the tours below!  

via The Inspired Room and The Cottage Magpie

via The Nester

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Snapshots: 1, 2, 3, Christmas!

Our last Sunday afternoon family gathering until after Christmas found us scrambling to fit in all of the things we wanted to do together this season.  And we did it!  

~ 1 ~
We enjoyed a simple menu, the same that we enjoy every year on the Sunday before Christmas:
Christmastime Sandwiches, chips, pickles, and fruit.

~ 2 ~
The children presented their annual Christmas pageant.
(You can see pics of previous pageants ~here~ and ~here~...oh how these kids have grown!)
The small actors did a fine job!
They recited all their lines.  
The shepherds gasped in fear at the appropriate time.
The costume committee created convincing costumes using the dress-up box, an item or two of borrowed clothing, and a few household items.  (The shepherds all wanted to hold the staff, but came to an amicable agreement.)
One of the actors had a nosebleed mid-performance, but the troupe handled the interruption with great aplomb.  
Close-ups of the tiny angel (2-year-old Alaine) and the little blond shepherds

~ 3 ~
The children did a Christmas craft that Kristin had planned.  
After the pageant, we whipped up a batch of royal icing and tinted it green.
The kids spread the icing on their upside-down sugar cones and then decorated their "trees" with small candies and sprinkles.
(They ate almost as much as they decorated.)
Fun, fun!  
I love a craft that is not too easy for the oldest children, but is simple enough for even the smallest. 

The next time the grands will come to Gran and Papa's house, it will be Christmas Day!
It is coming fast!

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