Friday, August 31, 2012

The auto shop

One thing that I am really thankful for is that my husband works at home!  A year ago Andy started an auto repair shop here at our place.  It has been so great having him around- I can go out and bother him anytime I want!  Of course, starting a new business has it's ups and downs, sometimes things are really hopping and there are lots of cars in the yard, and sometimes it's a little slower. 
But all in all it has been a great experience and a great way to get to know our neighbors better too.  The boys can go out and talk to their Dad anytime, and the older ones are learning to fix tires and do smaller repairs as well.  Sometimes there's even time for a little motorbike ride in the middle of the day-
We are indeed blessed!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I am having a back ache this week, so there isn't a whole lot of creativity going on here.  Bending over to sort a week's worth of wash this afternoon didn't help me any.  Back aches are a real pain!

The pretty flowers in the photo above are thistles- they are a pain too, in fact, our older boys were hired by their Grandpa to hoe thistles this summer in his fields.

Only God can take our pain and troubles and turn them into something beautiful--

For our light and momentary troubles
are achieving for us an eternal glory
that far outweighs them all. 
2 Corinthians 4:17

Saturday, August 25, 2012


We have all been rejoicing today since the Lord has given us 4.5 inches of rain in the last 2 days! 
AJ (above), SJ, DJ (below) and PD loved playing in the full ditch of water running through our yard-
We haven't seen this much water for a very long time so we were very happy.
Plus, we might get more tonight!!
There are no more cracks in the yard!
Thank you Lord, for giving us RAIN!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Drippy Mornings

Aren't drippy, rainy mornings so wonderful?
There's just something so peaceful and relaxing about them.
Every leaf and plant is washed clean and the colors
are so much more vibrant than before!
Jesus stood and said in a loud voice,
"If anyone is thirsty,
let him come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me,
as the Scripture has said,
streams of living water
will flow from within him."
John 7:37-38

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Area stone houses

Does seeing an old, abandoned house or farm make you feel sad?  It does me- thinking about the folks that used to live there and now all their hopes, dreams, and plans are over.  In 100 years will our home be just a memory too?  Probably, because our homes nowadays are not built out of stone like these were. 
A while back I wrote about our stone house and the history I have learned about it.  I don't know the history of the top two houses, they are a few miles north of us.  But the house below does have an interesting story.  It is located just a mile south of us and was built by one of the first settlers in our area, a man by the name of Wilcox.  There's not much of it left anymore, someone lit the inside on fire 30 or 40 years ago and that did it in.  
This Mr. Wilcox lived with his family in Texas back in the days before the Civil War.  But being from the north and an outspoken Union sympathizer he had to leave the state quickly when the war broke out.  His neighbors gave him 24 hours to leave but he took out right away on his horse and his wife and children followed in the wagon and they all met up down the trail.  As they came through our area on their way north to Illinois he told his wife, "Mother, this is the prettiest spot I ever saw. Let's go settle our business in Illinois, return here and make it our home."  And that is just what they did.  In 1866 he built this 8 room limestone house and he also built a stone barn which has been moved away.  They didn't have any close neighbors, the nearest being about 10 miles away. 
Mr. Wilcox had 1,000 head of cattle that ran free on the range.  He also kept 2 dozen buffalo that he had captured as calves further west on the prairie.  This didn't work out too well when settlers began moving in though.  When the cattle or buffalo came on their land they would sometimes be shot.  This made Mr. Wilcox very upset. 
One time Wilcox's men found 2 of his buffalo that had been shot on a neighbor's land.  The neighbor had not shot them, but they did not know that.  When Mr. Wilcox heard about it he saddled up his horse and rode over to the neighbor, who was stacking hay, and said, "you killed my buffalo, and now I'm going to kill you".  But the neighbor calmly told him that would accomplish nothing, he wouldn't get his buffalo back and it would just cause a lot of trouble for him and his family.  So Wilcox backed down.  This resulted in feuding in the community for about 10 years.  Finally, Wilcox and the neighbor met on the road one day and they agreed to let bygones be bygones, and both stood for neighborhood peace and goodwill till their dying day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Going Antiquing

My little sister is going to college this fall, it makes me sad to think of it.  When I went off to college she was only one year old.  Anyways, my mom, sister and I went antiquing yesterday for fun, before she leaves.  Of course, I'm always drawn to the dishes.  We found the pretty purple lilac pitcher at one of the antique malls in a town nearby.  It didn't cost much, but won't it be perfect for a lilac bouquet next spring?  I put it on a shelf of my secretary (photo below) along with two purple teacups, one has an iris and one violets.
On the other side of the shelf I put a baby picture of my mom, since purple was her favorite color when she was a little girl.  Isn't she cute?  I also put a little picture of Jesus, our Good Shepherd.  My mom received this picture in Sunday School when she was little, and then when I was a girl it was in my room.  I love it- Jesus loves us and cares for us so much!

And here is a picture of my secretary- it's my favorite piece of furniture.  It's fun to change around the decorations on the shelves from time to time, and I love the scroll work on it, especially the heart in the middle.  My parents gave it to me for Christmas when I was in high school. 

I'm linking up with Rose Chintz Cottage and A Stroll Thru Life again today.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Just being thankful

Here's a few things I'm thankful for this morning-

~Cool mornings and warm afternoons- our weather has changed and the cool mornings feel so good after this summer's heat.  I think 60s at night and 80s in the day is perfect weather, and that's what we are having now!

~The beauty you can find all around you if you just stop and look.  Saturday evening I took a little drive around our area and found the old stone wall in the photo above.  I don't remember ever seeing it before and yet it was just a few miles from our house.

~Sunflowers in the ditches.  We do live in the Sunflower state after all!

~The safety the Lord has given to us and our children, especially now with LA being in high school and driving and going to parties.

~Prayer- being able to talk to God, the maker of everything, and he hears and listens to me!  Amazing.

I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.

I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
and call on the name of the LORD.

Psalm 116:1,17

Friday, August 17, 2012

Some observations after the first week of school

Ready for the first day of school!

We are sending our kids to public school this year, after many years of home schooling.  Here are a few observations after the first week--

1. We go through a lot more clothes- I had to go out on Wednesday and buy more socks!

2. They are doing about how we thought they would, some think it's great fun and some think it's a big waste of time!

3. It is extremely quiet in the house all day.  I have to keep the radio on.

4. I always have plenty of time to talk with Andy about things now, so that's kind of nice.  (He works from home- which I am so thankful for!)

5. LA is driving the kids to school, and it makes me feel really old to have them all just drive away by themselves and leave me home!

6. Adjusting to life in school makes for some tired out boys.  Hopefully they'll get used to it soon!

7. Saturdays are more anticipated than they ever have been before. (:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Turning junk into treasures

Behind the old stone house on our place is this old shed.  It mostly had old wood and a few pieces of old yucky furniture in it when we moved here.  But there are a few treasures to be found!  I was over there looking around the other day, and suddenly I noticed these doors nailed over the shed windows.
I'm quite sure they are from the stone house, because there a 2 others just like them in the upstairs of the house.  The stone house is 130 years old, so who knows how old the doors are.  They have several coats of paint peeling off, all pastel colors.  So... I thought, I wonder if one of them would work for a headboard for our bed?  The person who nailed them to the shed would probably roll over in his grave if he saw what we did next!  LA helped me pull one out (he's standing on an old desk in the photo) and we hauled it back to the house.  I measured it and it was the perfect size for the bed!
All I had to do was buy a 2x4 and 4 bolts and persuade Andy to put it together for me.  (:  He cut the 2x4 in half, bolted the pieces to the bed frame, and then screwed the door to the 2x4s.  And presto! We have a headboard for our bed, and for only about $5!
I think it looks pretty neat- the men in the house are a little more skeptical.  This morning when AJ saw it for the first time he said, "whoa, what's that?"  I said, "it's called a headboard."  He looked at me funny and said, "that's not a headboard, that's a door."  Oh well.  At least I like it!  (:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Chocolate Revel Bars and Coffee-- aaahhh!

Not too much can beat chocolate and coffee, don't you think?  There is a cooler feel to the air the last few days so I decided to have my coffee out on the porch this evening.  I made the little pinwheel quilt about seven years ago, back when we were expecting to adopt a baby girl.  (You can read that story here, if you haven't read it already).  It's never been used for a baby, but it does look pretty good on the porch swing. (:
I'm using some more red transferware tonight, both the teacup and dessert plate are the pattern Romantic England, by J.&G. Meakin.  Did you see all the castles in Great Britain during the Olympics?  They made me want to go visit even more than I did before!
According to the bottom of the saucer the teacup features Anne Hathaway's cottage.  I didn't know who Anne Hathaway was, so I looked it up and she was William Shakespeare's wife and this was her childhood home.  It is now a museum.

For dessert I made some Chocolate Revel Bars.  These are my favorite brownie, so I made them for the kids today when they got home from school.  Unfortunately I can't eat them now, since I had to go off gluten, but LA happily ate it for me.  I have included the recipe below.
This is the dessert plate (after LA ate the brownie!).  It features Penshurst Place.  I found out that this home, which was built in 1341, was used in the movie, The Princess Bride, as well as lots of other movies.
The little dish with the bird was a gift from my Mom this summer.  It's made by Royal Copely.  Isn't it cute?

Chocolate Revel Bars

1 c. butter
2 c. light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
3 c. quick oats
Cream together butter and brown sugar.  Mix in eggs and vanilla.  Stir in dry ingredients and oatmeal.  Set aside.

1/2 package (6 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp. salt
2 T. butter
2 tsp. vanilla
Place first four ingredients in microwave safe bowl and microwave on 50-70 power until chocolate chips are melted.  Stir occasionally.  Or melt over double boiler.  Stir in vanilla.

Press 3/4 of oatmeal mixture in bottom of a greased 15x10x1 inch jelly roll pan.  Cover with chocolate mixture.  Press small amounts of remaining dough into flat pieces and lay on top of chocolate.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

I'm joining Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday and A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday again today.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I Would Gather Children

Some would gather money along the path of life.

Some would gather roses, and rest from worldly strife.

But I would gather children from among the thorns of sin.
I would seek a golden curl, and a freckled, toothless grin.

For money cannot enter in that land of endless day,
And roses that are gathered soon will wilt along the way.

But, oh, the laughing children as I cross the sunset sea,
And the gates swing wide to heaven,
I can take them in with me!
~Author Unknown

I have had this poem on our wall for many years, I love how
it gives perspective to life, especially as a mom.  It's so easy to get
caught up in this earthly life and forget about eternity
and what's really important-

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The times they are a-changin'

PD started football practice this week.  He is loving it, which I'm so thankful for, because it is a big commitment.  He has practices 4 times a week this first month before the games start.  Seems a little crazy to me but I'm not the coach.  PD loves to tackle, when he plays football with his brothers he goes slow enough that they can catch him just so they can tackle each other.  It will be fun to watch him play. 

Last night was Meet your Teacher night at the elementary school that DJ, SJ, and AJ will be going to this year.  I'm glad that it looks like all our boys will have good teachers.  We are starting something new with all the kids attending public school this year.  For the last four years I have been home schooling them.  But times and needs change and we really feel like this is what God wants us to do now. 

LA passed his driving test yesterday and now has his farm permit.  That means he can drive to school and to farm related work by himself.  He is sure growing up. 

I have no idea what I'm going to do with myself now with all the kids in school all day!  I mean, I have a few projects I can work on for a while but then what?  I guess I'm having my mid-life crisis. (:  I have some ideas but none seem quite right yet.  I'm sure with time God will make things clear.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The coolest kid fort ever- (maybe I'm biased?)

This is the last week before school starts and you know, I really wish there was no such thing as school.  The boys have been having a great time building this fort and playing "Indians" this week.  I wish summer could last forever.
I love how they used the sticks and wove them together to make this fort.  It's like a little wigwam. (:  Old carrot weed stalks make good spears.
Watch out!  DJ is armed and dangerous!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Simple little pleasures

"After all, I believe the nicest and sweetest days
 are not those on which anything very splendid
or wonderful or exciting happens...
but just those that bring simple little pleasures,
following one another softly,
like pearls slipping off a string."
~L.M. Montgomery, in Anne of Avonlea

I hope you can find time for a simple pleasure today, something
that brings you happiness.  Take a walk in the cooler evening,
enjoy a cup of coffee, or play a game with your family, and
remember who it is that has blessed you!

...but to put their hope in God,
who richly provides us with
everything for our enjoyment.
1 Timothy 6:17

Friday, August 3, 2012

A walk around our place

I decided to go out in search of something pretty to photograph
this afternoon, however, since we have had 30 days over 100 degrees
already this summer and very little rain I wasn't too hopeful.  The grass
is dead, the leaves on the trees are turning brown and falling- in fact
I told the kids this morning that you could almost look outside
and imagine that it was fall and 50 degrees, since the leaves are
all falling.  Kind of sad.  But, as I walked around our place I did
find some pretty things!  I hope you enjoy a little walk around
our place here in the country--

This little bee was busy on this black eyed susan!

The wind was rustling the leaves of the big cottonwood down
the road, I love cottonwood trees.

This is a pretty pink zinnia, don't you think?

I don't know what the proper name is for these little daisies,
they're only about 3/8 in. across.

We still have lots of tomatoes in the garden, isn't a warm
tomato from the garden so yummy?
The little pony on the left is LA's, her name is Smoky,
and the one on the right is PD's, her name is Spot.
These are an interesting plant, we call them Japanese lanterns,
but I'm not sure if that's their real name.  Aren't they cool?
God has given us beauty to enjoy, even in the hottest summer ever!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

15 Years of Bliss

This week Andy and I are celebrating 15 years of marriage!  It's hard to believe we've been married that long but when I think back to all the experiences we've had I guess it has been awhile.  Five children, nine houses, one college degree, nine jobs, three states, and three countries later, here we are!  God has blessed us and we are so thankful he gave us each other! 

We haven't changed that much in 15 years, have we? I guess you could say we grew up together!
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