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, June 29, 2017

Pick Up That Cookbook! {Barbecued Chicken}

Continuing with my plan to pick up a cookbook in my kitchen and try a new recipe every week . . .  

One of my favorite cookbooks is Everyday Food: Great Food Fast

I mean . . . "great food." 

And "fast." 

What's not to like, huh? 

The recipes in this book all appeared in issues of Everyday Food magazine. I still miss that magazine and kept all of my old issues! This is my kind of cooking: using seasonal ingredients to make delicious meals without a lot of fuss. We have made many recipes from this cookbook, but for the purposes of my challenge, I turned to the "Summer" section (recipes are categorized according to season) and chose one I had not yet tried. 

The barbecue sauce was easy to make, using ingredients that I already had in my kitchen. (I did have to buy some Texas Pete, but I'll bet many of you have that handy already.) And it is yummy! I'll be keeping it on hand for more summer grilling!


1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup ketchup

1 cut-up chicken (3 pounds)*
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for grates
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper

1) Heat a grill to medium. Simmer the hot sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, garlic, and ketchup in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to about 1 1/4 cups, 5 to 7 minutes.

2) In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the vegetable oil; season well with salt and pepper.  

3) Lightly oil the grates; place the chicken on grill. Cover the grill; cook, turning frequently until the chicken registers 165 F on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes. Uncover the grill; continue cooking, basting frequently with the sauce, until the chicken is glazed thoroughly, 3 to 4 minutes more. Serve with remaining sauce.

I could not find a whole chicken cut into parts (nor did I want to do the butchering), so I used some bone-in breasts and legs.

We're finding some new favorites this summer as I "Pick Up That Cookbook!" Have you picked up one of your cookbooks yet? 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Summer . . . So Far

I could not get motivated today. A very busy week is coming up and I should have used the day to get my ducks in a row. Instead I used the day to be . . . summery? As in, summer vacation mode? Coffee with a long-ago friend with whom I have recently reconnected. A little reading. A trip to the store for last minute ingredients for supper. A load of laundry. Praying. Lots of pondering. Not much else. 

Summer is upon us.

It kind of sneaked up on me this year, probably because of the way our school year wound down. And we're still not totally finished! These past couple of weeks, Bekah and her friend have been taking driver's ed (getting up early . . . every day . . . eek!), but I am hoping that 10th grade will be completed next week.

We have been enjoying summer meals. I have another cookbook recipe (two actually!) to share soon. Are you eating summery foods? 

Just because Ron finished the library doesn't mean he has run out of projects! 

Last summer, he didn't garden at all. Having just moved to Pineapple House in late April, there was much to do and starting a garden wasn't a priority. This year, however, he built two raised beds and has planted tomatoes, peppers, and sweet potatoes. (He may add a couple beds more next summer.) He also created a little "entrance" to the garden area in the side yard. We are considering some sort of trailing plant to enhance the entrance: clematis, honeysuckle, wisteria? We are open to suggestions! 

There will be lots of coming and going the rest of this week. It may be a bit busier than I like it, but it is always a good thing to take time for people. 

What has your summer held so far? Projects? People? Pondering? Hopefully, you'll find a day or two to just be lazy restful.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Pineapple House | The Library

A few months ago, I told you about our plans to turn our fourth bedroom into a library. 

I am over the moon about what we accomplished in this room! 

  • I am thrilled that all of my books are now unpacked. 
  • I am happy that I no longer need to keep the door of this room closed. 
  • I am delighted that we have a cozy little library/office/school room/sitting room. 

And . . . we did it on the cheap! 

Really, we spent comparatively little money making over this room. We used our DIY skills, we shopped the house, and we found a few bargains to create a library did not break the budget. 

So today I'll take you on a little tour and show you how we accomplished the plans that we had made for this room. (I walked you through our four goals ~here~ and now I'll show you the results.)

1) Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves on one wall.

We did it! Or rather . . . Ron did it! 

We decided on staggered levels for the shelves, adding visual interest and also providing a few taller spaces for oversized books and/or collectibles. Floor-to-ceiling maximized the space. There's room for everything and even a bit of room to expand our collection. There are shelves for geography, world history, American history, science, biographies, children's fiction, adult fiction, picture books, and homeschool resources. I was even able to devote a shelf to my 26 years worth of homeschool record books. One of the larger shelves has oversized books and two baskets, one for board books and one for baby toys. (I love it that the toddlers go directly to these baskets and come out with books to read.) Ron added a few outlets, but, of course, I ended up putting the pencil sharpener on a shelf that didn't have an outlet, so we're going to have to drill a hole in order to reroute the offending cord.

This photo has a wonky angle because I took it from outside the window!

On this shelf, I have some favorites: our globe, my beloved Genevieve Foster collection, reference books, an olive wood camel my mom brought from Israel many years ago, and my Great-Aunt Minerva's school bell. 

I love having a home for my globe. As a homeschooling family, we have always needed our globe to be accessible, but its home in The Farmhouse was a corner. This is better.  

2) A desk/office area.

We definitely shopped the house for this space! 

This wall cabinet was the one that Ron built for The Farmhouse bathroom. We hung it in the dining room here at Pineapple House, but it felt off. (Having nothing under the cabinet made it feel like it was floating.) Now, however, it has a home. This is right. It hangs over the desk and holds envelopes, cards, and other stationery.

The desk was also at The Farmhouse, serving as a side table in the living room. (You can see it ~here~.) The crock lamp was in The Farmhouse kitchen. (It's ~here~.) An old crock holds pencils and pens. In fact, the only new item in this area is the little wooden mail tray I bought at HomeGoods. (Actually, it's not a tray designed specifically for mail, but I liked it better than the mail sorter things that I found.)

Ron is using the desk for household finances. I write out cards and notes here. Occasionally Bekah does her school work at the desk. And the mail . . . well, it gets to the tray some of the time. We're still working on that. 

3) A reading area.

This love seat was used hard in The Farmhouse kitchen, because that room was the hub of our home. It was the kitchen, the sitting room, the school room, the gathering room, the party room. The love seat has had a lot of use.  

We're not ready to have it reupholstered yet, but it needed an update. I found a very inexpensive throw on eBay, so I am using it to cover the back of the love seat. It certainly buys us some time. 

The love seat is the most comfortable piece of furniture ever! I find myself here a lot . . . having my devotions and morning coffee, blogging, and, yes, even reading! 
Pinky photobombed all of my love seat pictures. :) 

We picked up this Warren Kimble print for $25 at an antique shop! Score!

My daughter-in-law Sarah took this photo of me reading to the boys while the girls were having their piano lessons with Bekah. (I was in my glory.)

4) An overflow conversation area.

As I told you in this post, I was hoping to find a wing chair to expand the function of this space to include a small gathering/sitting room. I searched Craigslist for months, but I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for (the perfect combination of style, price, and location). 

I began to wonder if a wing chair would even work in the room at all. Maybe a chair would crowd the small space. Right after we finished painting, Kati suggested that we bring in the red-checked chair from the living room, just to see if it would work. Well, not only did we decide that a wing chair would work, we decided that we wanted this wing chair! Right size, right color, just enough pattern . . . no need for Craigslist! 

Shopping the house can be a good thing. 

Of course, to make a sitting area, you need to have a rug. And how are those little grands going to sit and play a game or do a puzzle if they don't have a cushy place to land? 

Wanting to keep the cost down, I began my search locally. What do you know? I found my rug in Walmart. It is Venetian Scrollwork in their Better Homes and Gardens line.  And it was $78, folks! Score again! It is not the quality of my living room and dining room rugs, but this is a low traffic area and I am happy with how it looks, so it is good.  

Now to give you a few more details . . . 

Paint colors

For the walls, we used the same antique white that we have used in all of the other rooms at Pineapple House. I am sorry that I can't give you the exact color, but it was an old Valspar color that Lowe's no longer carries, and we have had it color matched from an old can. It is my favorite shade of white -- not too white, but not yellowy or tan. 

The trim is a color from Olde Century Colors called Quaker Green. (We had it color matched in a Behr paint, eggshell finish, because we have always been pleased with Behr's results.)

Quaker Green is very close to the color we used in The Farmhouse dining room. Such a great colonial color! Although I prefer lighter, brighter colors in my main living spaces, a darker color like this works well in a room that is less frequently used. It also ups the "cozy" factor. :)

Window Treatments

I had planned to use a check to make a fishtail swag. But after deciding to keep the checked wing chair in the room, and considering the coverlet pattern on the love seat and the design in the rug, a check seemed like too much. Kati and I went to Hobby Lobby and we found a simple fabric that looks like linen (it isn't) that seemed just right. 

Ron also made shutters for the bottom sash. This allows us to let natural light in during the day, but we can also have privacy after the sun sets. (When I took most of the pictures for this post, the shutters were not finished, so I went back a took a few more after they were in place.)


We wanted updated lighting for the library. I found this small bronze chandelier at Sturbridge Yankee Workshop. Not only was it the right size for the space, it was also the right price! It was on sale and I had a discount code. We paid just a smidge over a hundred dollars for this new light.

So there you have it: our library/office/sitting room! 

Yes, I am over the moon, because it turned out even better than I had imagined! It may not be on the cutting edge of home decor. But it is functional and cozy and it fits our style, and that makes it perfect for us!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sunday Snapshots: Loving Our Dads

Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.
Psalm 127:1a

Our special day for dads was full. 

We had a full house. Twenty of us gathered to celebrate fathers. 

Our tummies were full. We had assembled our own deli: an assortment of breads, meats, cheeses, and toppings; pasta salad, potato salad, and chips. And then there were desserts. 

The day was full of special moments. A baby climbing into the blanket basket. Little girls in matching dresses. A little boy wearing a tie. A game that everyone could play. My dad's hat hanging on the closet door knob. Tokens of love exchanged. Cousins playing together. Wrapping paper antics. A photo collage of the fathers of every person present (hastily assembled by Kati because her mom had a last minute brainstorm). Moments of connection between generations. Children asking to help serve. Beautiful music by Ryan and Sarah. 

Of course, there were the family photos . . . 


And then there was this one:

Because the house was also full of fun! 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Saturday Morning Randomness

My thoughts are kind of random this morning, so I thought I'd just plop it all here as I sip on my second cup of coffee. If you don't have time to chat, no problem! 

We are completing our my 26th year of homeschooling. Before our school got down to just one student, we always finished "formal" schooling by the end of May. But Bekah and I are both the meandering sort and so now school sort of just tapers off and winds down slowly. There is no Grand and Final Day when school ends and summer begins. I had hoped that Bek would be finished this week, but she has a tiny bit of biology left and a few hours of history. (She will continue with Algebra II through the summer . . . maybe one lesson per week.) The thing is: Bekah is totally content to meander her way to summer vacation, so there's no stress.

Speaking of stress . . . Bekah begins driver's ed next week! I can't talk about it. 😨

I am enjoying this new summer wreath on my back door, handmade by a talented friend, given to me by the girls on Mother's Day. I had admired a red geranium wreath that I had seen in Target. Red is my color and I always had red at The Farmhouse, but there is a lot of pink in the yard at Pineapple House. We have a mix of colors in the pots on the back steps, so Kati asked Terri to make a mixed color wreath. I love it! 

The library is finished! It turned out even better than I had imagined and I want to share it with you. The problem is that it is a small room and I am not a great photographer and I am having a hard time taking photos that do it justice. Oh, but I love it and we really did it on the cheap and we are spending lots of time in here (yes, I'm in the library now!). So I am going to try to put together a post about it sometime next week. Here's a peek . . . 

You may or may not have noticed that I have been replying to your comments. I always love it when a blogger does that; it makes blogging a two-way street and encourages friendships. Martha Ellen makes it look so easy. She has always continued the conversation on her posts with warm and engaging responses and I always go back to see what she has said to me. 

I am going to try it for a while, but no promises on how long I'll be able to keep it up! 

How do you feel about replying to comments? Do you enjoy the two-way conversations? If you're a blogger too, how do you choose to respond to commenters (if you do)? 

No explanation necessary. Her face says it all.

A slice of life at our house.

Last Sunday morning, I saw a sticky note outside the girls' bathroom door. 

This is what it said.

Kati, who had discovered a camel cricket in the bathtub in the middle of the night, had left this note for Bekah so that she would not have a coronary if she woke up first and happened to move the cup. 

Of course, Ron says that he would have just killed the cricket on the spot and gone back to bed. No note necessary.

Bekah, however, greatly appreciated the warning.

(Have you ever seen a camel cricket? They are ugly and fast and Bekah is terrified of them. And Bekah is a screamer.) 


Enough randomness for one post. Tomorrow is Father's Day and we are having a gathering so there are preparations to be made today.

My daddy and me, 1962

If you have time to chat, how about leaving one of your random thoughts in the comments? 

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