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.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Octopus In My Refrigerator

Right there between the salad dressing and the eggs.

Yes, octopus. 🐙  Kati and her boyfriend Andrew are going to cook it this evening. 

Have you ever eaten octopus? Would you try it? What is the most exotic thing you have ever eaten? 

🐙 ~ 🐙 ~ 🐙

(I'll be back with a holiday wrap-up in a few days! It's been a busy week!)

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Pineapple House | Christmas Tour 2018

It's that time again . .  the day that I invite you all into Pineapple House to share in our Christmas festivities! Wouldn't it be wonderful if you really could come and share a cup of coffee and a slice of sweet potato pound cake (or would you rather have a cookie?) and a hot cup of coffee or tea?

Or if you could smell the blend of dried oranges and chocolate chip cookies and spruce candle? Or if we could sing some carols together while Bekah accompanies us on the piano?

I would love that! 

I suppose we'll have to settle for a little virtual tour. (But we can dream, can't we?)

We'll start here in the living room. As always, I created a Della Robbia display on the mantle, combining natural and faux elements. This year, I dried some fresh oranges and made a garland to hang. (I wish I had added some cranberries too. Maybe next year.) Those dried orange slices found their way to a lot of nooks and crannies. I think repeating a decorating element (like the dried orange slices) brings cohesiveness.

I'll stop talking and let you have a peek.

Okay, I'm talking again. I am so glad that I painted the fireplace surround this past summer! When I look at last year's Christmas photos, that brass surround sticks out like a sore thumb.

For this year's packages, I used some tartan plaid and some red ticking gift wrap, in addition to my usual brown Kraft paper. Of course, I made a fresh batch of pineapple gift tags

Let's step into the dining room now, where there's more greenery, more fruit, more candlelight.

Since we did another stage of remodeling in the kitchen this year, I was eager to add some Christmas touches in here!

Here's a look at our past Christmas tours. Take a peek if you wish, and then scroll down for a few bonus nooks and crannies.  

2009  A Farmhouse Christmas

2010  The Simple Farmhouse Christmas 

2011  Old-Fashioned Farmhouse Christmas

2012  A Colonial Farmhouse Christmas

2013  Farmhouse Christmas Tour ~ 2013

2014  Farmhouse Christmas Tour ~ 2014

2015  This tour was done in three parts. These are my favorite, and it was our last year in The Farmhouse!
           Farmhouse Christmas Tour 2015 ~ Part 1 {Christmas in Our Living Room}

           Farmhouse Christmas Tour 2015 ~ Part 2 {Christmas in Our Kitchen}
           Farmhouse Christmas Tour 2015 ~ Part 3 {Christmas in Our Dining Room}

2016  Pineapple House at Christmas

2017  Christmas Tour | Pineapple House 2017

A glimpse of Bekah's room . . .

, , ,  and one of Kati's (she shared more pics on her blog) . . . 

. . .  and one of the sun porch.

And to all a good night! 

A blessed Christmas to all of you, my readers and friends! 
May your celebrations be joy-filled as we rejoice in 
Who He is and 
what He did!

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, 
upon them a light has shined.
Isaiah 9:2

Friday, December 14, 2018

He Came!

On Sunday morning, we woke to a chilly house because we had run out of heating oil. Ron had forgotten to check the gauge last week and thus had neglected to place an order. I was irritated. It was a cold weekend. Not a good time to be without heat. I told him that a few times.

Kati woke with a terrible sinus headache. Her head hurt. Her face hurt. She was nauseous. She was going to have to miss church.

Bekah overslept. She got out of bed way too late, immediately rushing to be ready for church on time. When we announced that we were leaving "now," she grabbed a granola bar and rushed to the door, make-up in hand, no earrings in her ears, the back of her hair still wet. "How does my hair look?" she asked me. "Wet," I grumped. She ran to the living room to get an assessment from sick Kati, then ran out of the back door and got in the van.

On our short drive to church I said, "This car is full of human beings."

We are, aren't we? Human, that is.

Humans who are sinners and who live in a sin-cursed world.

We make mistakes.

We get sick.

We have character flaws.

We have wrong attitudes.

We don't control our tongues.

And that is why He came! 

He came because we can never be good enough.

In fact, our very best falls short of the mark.

He came into this dark and fallen world that is full of sin and misery and woe.

He came for those who are imperfect and sinful and fallen.

He came for those who suffer from the curse of sin.

He came for the sick and the hurting and the broken.

And he took all of the punishment for my sin and the sin of the world. 

And he offers something better . . . eternal life.

We're still human. We are still imperfect. We still get sick. We still suffer from the curse.

But if we accept His amazing gift of forgiveness and redemption, then we have something amazing to celebrate during this season. We are not simply worshiping the Baby in the manger. We are worshiping our Savior!

Have you accepted His amazing gift of forgiveness and redemption? 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Five on Friday: Music and More Music

Since Thanksgiving weekend, our Christmas celebrating has been filled with music, so that is the theme of my Five on Friday today. 

Bekah's piano recital was Thanksgiving weekend. It was a lovely affair, held at a local Festival of Trees. It was a thrill for me to hear Bekah and her teacher (and cousin) Amy play a duet, "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy."

She also played a piano solo: "We Three Kings." 

In our Morning Time, we are repeating the devotional series that we did last year, based on Handel's Messiah. It was a highlight for us last December, so when Bekah asked if we could do it again this year, I was more than willing! Each day, we read passages from Scripture, and then we listen to the corresponding portions from the oratorio. 

The link to the schedule of Scripture passages and corresponding songs:

The link to the performance of Messiah to which we are listening:

I have recently discovered a fabulous resource for moms who want to teach hymns to their children. Happy Hymnody is both an Instagram account and a blog devoted to that purpose. Pastor's wife and mom, April Brover, introduces the group to a #hymnofthemonth, providing printables of the lyrics, links to videos, the stories behind the hymn, as well as a community of encouragement.

This month's hymn is "Joy to the World" and we're singing it too, paying special attention to the significance of verse 3. Have you ever wondered what the business about thorns infesting the ground is doing in a Christmas carol? Read here if you're curious. 


Bekah's voice recital was on the following weekend. Let me assure you that she was far more nervous to be singing rather than playing the piano! (This is her first year taking voice lessons.) She sang "Coventry Carol," a song that I had heard many times, but had never really paid attention to the words. I was surprised to learn that it is based on Herod's order to kill all the male children under the age of two. You can read more about the song's history here

Kati took a video of Bekah's performance, but forgot that her "real" camera does not correct orientation as her cell phone camera does, meaning that you'd have to tilt your head (or your device) to see it properly. (Link is here for those who don't mind tilting. 😉)
Photo courtesy of another recital mom, Rebecca

The last in our series of three weekends/three recitals is this evening! Our homeschool choir will be presenting its Christmas program and we're all excited. Bekah and six of our grands (Maddie, Owen, Eve, Ben, Nora, and Alaine) are in the choir. How could we not love this?

What to wear?

Is music an important part of your Christmas celebrations? My own favorite carol is "Angels From the Realms of Glory." The whole story of redemption is told in its words! (Read them here.) 🎝🎜 God with man is now residing . . . 

I'd love to know your favorite carol. If you'd like, share yours in the comments.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Memories at The Nutcracker Ballet

This week, Bekah and I went to see a production of The Nutcracker ballet. 

It was a "last" for us, the last time any of us can go to the annual school performance. (A local ballet company produces The Nutcracker annually, Prior to their regular performances, they invite public school, private school, and home school students to a daytime performance at a reduced rate.)

As we watched, I reminisced. 

I thought about the first time I took my children to see The Nutcracker. Kristin was 13, Ryan was 11, and Kati (now 25) was a brand new baby, only a month old! Our homeschool friends, many of them meeting Kati for the first time, oohed and ahhed over our sweet new baby. I suppose she was soothed by the beautiful music, because she nursed and slept through the whole thing. Whew! 

I believe Ryan went back another time, perhaps two. Then there was the year that Ron was off, doing a major home project and Ryan begged to stay home and help. Home improvement sounded loads better than the ballet apparently! (Recently, he told me that going to The Nutcracker was "three hours of ballet torture.") 


So our Nutcracker tradition became a girls' tradition. Kristin, Kati, and me. Then Kati, Bekah, and me. Later, Kati, Bekah, and me, and Kristin and Maddie. Then Kati, Bekah, and me and Kristin, Maddie, and Alaine.  

The year the girls took binoculars (opera glasses?) 

The year that Bekah was potty training, we went to see The Nutcracker. As the second scene opened to the Land of Sweets, Kati leaned over and whispered, "I see pee-in-the-potty candy." 

She was right. I had a Mason jar at home filled with gum drops. Each time Bekah had a potty success, she was rewarded a gum drop. So instead of seeing gum drops on the stage, we all saw pee-in-the-potty candy! 

We attended most years. Then there was the one year I thought we'd pass, only to find out that Kati and Bekah were dismayed that I hadn't bought tickets. Please, can we go see The Nutcracker? I emailed my friend to see if any were available. There were! I told her that if there hadn't been any tickets left, I may have had to dress in costume and dance all the parts in my kitchen. My friend said that she'd be tempted to withhold the tickets just to come and see that! 

Fortunately (for all of us), she sold me the tickets! 

One year on Nutcracker morning, I had a phone call. My sweet friend who was dying had asked for me to come and sing hymns with her. I took Kati and Bekah to meet Kristin and her girls at the auditorium, and drove over to spend those precious moments with Ann. It is a bittersweet memory for me, but one that I treasure. Ann went to be with the Lord a few days later.

This fall I somehow missed the email announcing the sale of the school performance tickets. A few weeks ago, I asked Bekah if she'd like to go to The Nutcracker (as a student) one last time and she (of course) said yes, so I tried to track down tickets. In fact, I tried four different avenues and hit dead ends. Sadness.

On the night before the performance, I said, "Bekah, it looks like we're not going to be able to go to The Nutcracker this year. I just can't find tickets."

Not ten minutes later, I opened my email and a friend in a local homeschool yahoo group announced that she had three extra tickets for sale! The Lord's provision to us? I think so!

A grainy selfie, but I love it! 

So my girl (who has "loved The Nutcracker since the first time I saw it") and I were able to keep a much-loved tradition and attend the ballet together. 

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