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.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Lately . . .


Quiet and cozy is how I like my January. 

We've had some of that.


And we've also had a visit to my sister's new home in a new town, a fun book club meeting, and a winter birthday party! 

Bekah's January became less "quiet" this week when she started college. At least she has company while she studies. 🐈

(Is he keeping her company or enjoying the sun? Both?)


How do like your January? 

Monday, January 24, 2022

House Projects 2022 | Project #1

Each January, Ron and I sit down with pencil and paper and discuss the house projects that we'd like to accomplish in the coming year. We actually list
everything that we would like to do in the future (that list is long!) and then choose a top five for the current year. 

This is flexible. If we finish the top five, we can choose something else. If one of the five doesn't happen for some reason or another, we can substitute . . . or just not accomplish it all. Sometimes there may be a bit of time in which we can fit a smaller project so we'll go ahead and do that. Or sometimes our priorities change during the year. The main thing is that we keep moving forward with our vision and keep chipping away at our goals. 

This year, we have two main projects in our top five, and three smaller projects. In this post, I will tell you all about the first project. 


Looking from the dining room, through the basement stairwell, into the kitchen.

Between our dining room and living room, there a dark little space that leads to our basement. I always avoid showing it in photos because it really doesn't connect visually with anything else in our house. It is covered with the same paneling that is in our master bedroom, has the same pressed board ceiling tiles, and the stairs have the same carpet, leading us to believe that those spaces were completed or updated at the same time. 

(To clarify: The master bedroom paneling is now painted, and the room has a new ceiling and hardwood floors. We did that makeover in the winter of 2020. I don't think I ever showed you the full "after," just a few glimpses here and there. Oops.)

We will only be working on the stairway area. The basement itself needs a lot of work, but that will be for another year.

Looking from the kitchen, through the basement stairwell, into the dining room.

Here are our plans to update the basement stairwell:

1) Replace the pressed board tile ceiling with drywall. This is an aesthetic change. Drywall will look so much better. You can get a glimpse of the tile in this photo of our master bedroom before the makeover. 

(Note: Ron and Ryan hung the drywall last week. It is unfinished, but it already looks better!)

2) Paint the walls and trim. The walls will be Antique White (color match of an old Valspar color), the same as all of the other walls in our house. The trim will be the same tan that is in the living room, dining room, and hallway. It is a very slightly lightened color match to Linen White, an Olde Century Color. 

3) Replace the ceiling light. We have a double saddle light from Irvin's Tinware. (We've had this a while, but we think that we purchased it on eBay.)

This is the current light.

4) Remove the carpet.
Because this is the same carpet that was in our master bedroom, I did not have high hopes about what was under it. The bedroom had a tile floor under the carpet, so I imagined the same tile or maybe even particle board. Would we have to replace the treads? That would be a big project.

But a few days ago, Ron cut into the carpet on a lower tread and . . . lo and behold . . . the treads are PINE! I am thrilled! We'll have to do some refinishing, but they are certainly usable and I think they will look great. I will probably look for a stair runner because this house often has old people (some of them live here!) and babies and safety is a factor, so I want to soften the edges of wooden treads. 

tile floor that was under the master bedroom carpet

5) Build a half door/baby gate at the top of the stairs. This is also a safety measure. 

When we moved into Pineapple House, we were puzzled by the wooden bar that was across the middle of the doorway. What was its purpose? It couldn't prevent a child from falling down the stairs, nor would it keep a pet upstairs. We eventually came to the conclusion that it was a safety feature for older people. The bar was easily raised and lowered, but it was at a height that would prevent an older person from accidentally falling down the steps when passing through the space. 

Over the years, we have used various approaches to keeping little ones from getting to those stairs. Sometimes, we are in the dining room and we keep an eye out. Sometimes we have slid the piano bench over to the dining room doorway. When Ryan and Sarah became foster parents to Baby K, they bought a baby gate that fits in the doorway, but because Manzy's litter box is in the basement, we have to allow clearance at the bottom. 

When Kati and Andrew have visited and we have had to have the baby gate up for days at a time, Ron has stepped over it 😱 to avoid moving it and putting it back for a quick trip to the basement. Before their Christmas visit, I made him promise me that he would NOT do that! (Wives, are you with me?!) 

We have looked for a baby gate that would be more permanent with a door that an adult can easily open and close, but the need for clearance at the bottom has made that search challenging. Ron has decided that he will build a half door that will meet all of our specific needs for that space. We anticipate old people and babies in our house for years to come, so it's an investment in the future.

See the mysterious bar? What do you think its purpose is?

6) Install a door at the bottom of the stairs. This one is a "maybe." If we use the basement as a bedroom or guest room or even a sitting room/game room with a sleeper sofa, a door would give privacy from the upstairs. So we may install a door (Ron already has one), or we may defer that to another time. 

This stairway update will certainly brighten and freshen this dark little space! The plan this week is to finish the drywall and (hopefully) begin painting. One step at a time . . . 

I will be back soon to tell you about the biggest project that we have planned for this year . . . the one that I am most excited about! 

Monday, January 17, 2022

This and That

We are diving into house projects for the new year! There is a BIG project coming up, and a less big (but not exactly small) project in the works right now. 

In the past, I have done posts about our house goals, as well as summaries of the previous year's goals. If you're interested in so much detail, let me know and I'll put something together. 

I'll be the first to admit that a house is a temporal thing. Pineapple House is not my final home! As much as I love it (and I do believe that it is a gift from the Lord!), it pales in comparison to the home that awaits me!

. . . 

  • I (we) do love house-y things!
  • I believe that this home is a gift that can be given back to the Lord to be used for His purposes: shelter, hospitality, teaching, growing, nurturing, loving. 

I stumbled onto a post on Instagram this weekend that impacted me greatly. The poster told about her 92-year-old grandmother who was hosting Thanksgiving dinner at her own home for the 32nd year in a row! The grandmother had made the choice many years ago to "buy the big house" so that everyone (especially her family) would want to come. She wanted them to feel welcome, and so she had made choices that would affect the future. 

I was inspired by that grandmother! I realize that everyone's situation is different. You may not have the monetary means or the health or the energy or the desire to host for thirty-two years! But I am inspired to use my home as long as He provides for that to be! 

Ryan will be here this evening helping Ron with a step in the "less big" project. 

We invited their whole family to come with him and have dinner with us. Originally, I was to be out of town a good part of the day, so I planned an easy meal. Now the "out of town" plans have been changed, but I kept the "easy meal" plan. We will have a choice of soups. I have some chicken noodle soup that I made on Saturday when it was so cold, and I put another favorite soup in the crock pot this morning. My friend Dotsie shared the recipe for chicken tortilla soup with me and my blog readers several years ago when I was doing a blog series of slow cooker recipes. My house is smelling so good as I type, and of course, I think of Dotsie every time I make it! Do recipes remind you of people? That is one thing that I enjoy about sharing recipes with family and friends.

We also have plans to Skype with Kati and family this evening. Andrew may be out, or he may be home due to snow. Ron and Ryan may join the chat, or they may still be working on the project. But we will enjoy checking in and seeing the babies whom we have not seen since they flew home after their Christmas visit. (Skype is not as good as a hug, but we take what we can get!)

While I don't typically make New Year's resolutions, I have a couple of small goals for the coming year. 

1) I would like to improve my meal planning. I used to do fairly well with that, but (cue the excuses!) moving into a new kitchen (I know, I know, it's been close to six years), cooking for fewer people, and changes in how I shop for groceries have all affected my planner self. So I am making an effort to ditch the excuses and be more consistent with a weekly plan. 

2) I am going to do a simple sketch and watercolor every week. Actually, I know very little about watercolor, and I don't consider myself an artist by any means. But I am inspired by the art of Emily Lex who painted a watercolor every day of 2019! Every day! One per week is my goal. So far, so good. Maybe I'll even share one now and then. 

Gentleness is A Christian Virtue

A friend shared this article on her Facebook page this morning and I think is well worth reading! A few quotes:

My greatest concern is not that our culture is angry. My greatest concern is that this sense of meanness has even invaded many corners of the church. Christians on both sides of the political spectrum justify their anger toward others by claiming to be fighting for justice or Christian liberty or the future of our country, or whatever other narrative fits their desire to express their more base emotions.


There is no room among Christ’s followers for meanness. In a dark world the light of Christ must shine through with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. Christians must be willing to be wronged, if being wronged enables the gospel of Christ to go forward and the glory of Christ to shine brighter to a lost world.

There's more. Read ~here~ to see what the author has to say about how gentleness should characterize a Christ-follower. 

And now I need to go make some dessert! What would you make for a winter's evening following a simple meal? 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Christmas | 2021

I invited you to
tour my Christmas home . . . and then I disappeared to celebrate Christmas with my dear ones! 

Again this year, I tried to be guarded with my expectations of the holidays, especially as friends and family all around us were becoming ill with Covid, some very ill. Maybe one of the good things that has come from this pandemic is that we are learning to hold our plans loosely. "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."  So we kept on planning and getting ready, hoping and praying . . . 

And then, thanks be to the Lord, we had two weeks of celebration! 

Kati, Andrew, Caleb and Ellie arrived a couple of days before Christmas and we enjoyed family gatherings, visits in one another's homes, cuddling babies (do you remember that we currently have FOUR babies in our family aged just-barely-two and under?), eating, making coffee runs, chasing after toddlers, playing in the floor, too many treats, not enough kisses, and soaking it all in. 

I am going to share just a few oodles of photos from our time together. I tried to choose my favorites, but even so, there are many. 

Playing with Papa's new toy 

My mom's orange rolls are one of the highlights of Christmas breakfast.

Caleb got a new water bottle . . . like his dad's (which he loved), but more his size!

Our oldest daughter Kristin and her family

Our son Ryan and his family

Our middle daughter Kati and her family

Our youngest daughter, Bekah

Ron and I

Twinning 💙💗

A little side note: Bekah is wearing a kilt that Gammy (my mom) bought on a trip to Scotland in the early '80's, nearly twenty years before Bekah was born!

I love how Gampy (my dad) and Ellie are looking at one another as they meet for the first time! 

Baby cousins, Ellie and Joanna, born exactly three months apart!

Ellie turned 6 months old while visiting us. She is such a sweet, happy baby!

A new tradition.
Last New Year's Eve, Andrew (a college professor) taught us an informal lesson about color-blindness. At our request, he gave another lecture. This year's topic was depth perception.

The first time this sweet baby had a babysitter (a bunch of babysitters, actually)!
Her mom and dad and older sibling ran a 5K, and the three youngest came to Gran's house. 

It looked a little bit like a daycare here in our living room! 😊

Looks of concentration . . . 

. . . while everyone participates in a hot dog taste test! 
Each participant received a bite-sized piece of six different brands of hot dog and assigned each a score according to taste.
Andrew (remember . . . college professor) analyzed the data.

It turns out that Hebrew Nationals ranked the highest in our family.
But I think most agreed that dessert was pretty fine!
chocolate peanut butter trifle

Caleb, a southern boy, enjoyed looking at the snow.

His mama helped Caleb find a "dinosaur" in his (Quaker Dinosaur Eggs) oatmeal!

On the last morning he was here, I asked Caleb to wave good-bye to Papa who had already gone to work.

Airport good-byes are always a little teary (especially when there are babies who will have changed so much by the time we see them again!), but we are so grateful for the gift of time spent together!

"And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at His birth."
Luke 1:14

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