Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall Thoughts

Although it has been hot around here the last week, I know that fall is in the air.  We are enjoying the cooler evenings, and there are a few trees starting to turn colors.  I love the smell of the outdoors during fall.  My mom used to say that she knew fall was almost here because she could smell it.

 I also love the smell of the kitchen during this season!  With fall approaching, I find myself automatically changing my menus.  I tend to cook more soups and stews.  I bake more breads and desserts too.  I am also drawn to make more pies during fall than any other time of the year.  Fall meals are usually budget friendly so that is just another reason to enjoy the good food!  With the cooler weather,  more opportunities come to enjoy sipping coffee in the evening on the front porch.  I am looking forward to the pace of life slowing down a bit.  I also can't wait until the trees adorn themselves with the glorious display of color that only the Lord Himself could orchestrate.  Until then, I think I will go bake something and enjoy a peaceful afternoon in the kitchen!

grace and peace,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Hope Shalom

Yesterday we celebrated our daughter's birthday.  We always allow our kids to choose the activity and dinner that they want for their birthday.  I would have let her stay home from school, but she really wanted to go.  Any of my boys would have chosen the get out of school free birthday pass!

Hope wanted  to take her birthday money and go shopping for the evening.  We drove to Chattanooga and we had a great time together.  We spent the whole evening in the mall just looking at girl things.  She spent most of her birthday money in order to finish out her fall wardrobe.  She is a great shopper.  I kept looking at the front of the store for pretty items.  She never stopped at the front.  She always headed to the back of the store and looked at the clearance racks first.  She never would buy anything full price.  She is a much better shopper than me.

While we were at the mall her brothers made her dinner of choice.  Hope knew all along that she wanted to go shopping. She chose an easy meal that she happens to love so that we could shop without having to worry about making dinner.  The  boys made her hot ham & cheese subs with marinated lettuce.  Dinner was almost finished when we got home.  She had requested a cheesecake with cherries for her birthday cake.  I made that ahead of time!  I didn't trust those boys with that task. 

We all had a wonderful evening.  The only thing that was missing was our oldest son Matthew and his girlfriend Chelsea.  This morning I was driving Hope to school and she mentioned that she was really tired.  I asked her why because I knew she had gone to bed on time.  She giggled and said that Matthew had called her right before she went to sleep, and they spent a long time talking together on the phone.  I knew he didn't get off work until 10:00 last night so I wasn't too upset that he kept her up late.  I was just thankful that he took the time to call her.  It was the perfect ending to her birthday!

grace and peace,

Monday, September 20, 2010

He Made Me Smile Today

Look what I found this morning laying right beside all the dirty breakfast dishes, the leftover pancakes, and the book that the eighth grader forgot to take to school.    Just a few words scratched  onto a piece of torn notebook paper by my 16 year old.  It made all the difference in the world for me today.

grace and peace,

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Scripture

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven."  Ecclesiastes 3:1

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Planning and Dreaming

When we haven't been busy playing checkers on the front porch...

Or watching our boys play football...

We have been busy thinking about farm babies.

While farm babies do bring a lot of work, they also bring a lot of rewards.  We know the steps that we have to take to bring animals back to our new home.  For now, we aren't in the position to get animals.  The fences need to have major repairs which cost money.   It is also expensive to purchase animals. Michael will be in school for the next year so there isn't time to work on the farm.   For now, we are spending our time planning  and remembering.  Our daughter is enjoying not having any animals.  She likes not having the responsibility.  Our boys are feeling quite differently.  I hear them talking often over a good game of checkers just how much they miss having the animals.  It always makes me smile because I remember it wasn't that long ago when they complained about all the extra work that the animals created for them!

grace and peace,

Monday, September 13, 2010

Technical Difficulty

I am experiencing frustrations beyond belief with trying to upload a new picture for a header on my blog.  I can't get the picture to fit the header space.  When we lived in our old house, I could try multiple pictures until I found one to fit because we had high speed Internet.  Our new house doesn't come with such conveniences.  We have satellite connection.  While I am thankful for Internet, it is still unbelievably slow.  When I upload more than two pictures to my blog, I have time to take a shower and get ready for my day while that upload is taking place.  I need to figure out how to change the width of the picture in the html.  I know this has to do with the amount of pixels, and I know it is accomplished in the layout.  I don't have a clue as to what to change the pixel size too.  If you have any advice, help, or just sympathy, please leave me a comment.  I am starting to get frustrated.
grace and peace,

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Morning Quiet Time

The morning sky beckoned me to come outside and sip a cup of coffee.  "Come and enjoy the beauty that the Lord Himself painted in the sky" was the cry of the moment just before sunrise.

Although I am drawn to want to do this every morning, I often times do not give into those callings.  However, this morning I gladly resisted the responsibility that morning time brings to a busy mother.  I took a blanket, a cup of coffee, and a prayer. 

A stolen moment in time to whisper thanksgivings and petitions to my Lord always makes my day go better even though the clocked bellowed that I was running late.  The morning came and went.  The children made it to school on time.  The breakfast dishes have been washed and the youngest child of all has been diligent to work on his school.

 Those quiet moments entertained before the household was awake laid the foundation for the new day.  I am thankful to have enjoyed them and to cherish each new day that the Lord gives to me.  I ask myself, "Why don't I stop more often and share a cup of coffee with Him before the whirlwind of each new day begins?"

grace and peace,

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Enjoying the Front Porch

The weather has turned off cooler the last week or so.  We have taken advantage of it and spent a lot of time on our front porch.  We have been enjoying the humming birds.

With the cooler weather, the thought of fall is on my mind.  I have had this candelabra piece for almost two years.  It was still in the box because I had no where for it in our other house.  I assembled it last night and added some cheap silk flowers.  I love the fall touch that it adds to the front porch.

I also had another piece that I kept in our fireplace in our other house.  It held pillar candles, and it was always pretty glowing with candle light.  I had some leftover flowers and only a few pillar candles.  I threw it together and placed it on the other end of the front porch. 

I also created a checker area on the front porch.  Michael's dad gave us this checkerboard before he died.  He grew up playing checkers on it.  I wanted Michael to make some checker pieces, but he has never taken on that task.  However, he was in the process of building a chess board.  He had all the pieces cut out.  I was stuck in the shop helping him get it in order. I found the pieces and decided that they could be used as checker pieces.  He wasn't thrilled, but I promised him that they would be alright.  We put the board on top of an old barrel.  The kids are always gathered around playing checkers. 

I am ready to get some rocking chairs for my front porch.  I am also ready to find the rest of my fall decorations.  I love this time of year!

grace and peace,

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Raised Beds Or Row Gardens

We are trying to decide how we want to do our garden this time in our new home.  In times past, we have had both raised beds and traditional gardens.  There are pros and cons to both.  Raised beds in my opinion are more beautiful.  They have the look of large flower boxes with beautiful things growing inside of  them. 

Raised beds are also great for growing large quantities in small areas.  You can also control each individual bed easily.  Did I mention that they are beautiful?

What are the negatives of raised beds?   They can be expensive to install.  There is also a lot of work to getting raised beds first started.  Depending on the material used for the beds, there is also the cost and time of replacing the wood on the beds later down the road. 

We have a large area just past the drive way and before the cow fence that we have decided will be our garden for next year.  The previous owners already had a garden there and they installed a water spigot which is very helpful when gardening.  The area is large and narrow, but there really isn't much else that could be done with it except have a garden or mow it. 

We could have the neighbor plow it up and make a traditional row garden.  Space isn't an issue for us.  We have plenty to plant whatever we desire.  We could still use drip tape and water in that manner.  This would be the least amount of upfront  money as well as the least amount of work.  Our traditional row gardens have always yielded plenty in the past.  The only real problem with it was that I had a hard time keeping up with it.  I can't run the tiller myself so it required Michael or one of the boys to till between the rows to keep up with any weed issues.  They weren't always available to do that when it needed to be done.  I also had to have one of them around to till up an area if I wanted to plant something new.  My raised beds were much easier to work.  I could work with out Michael for the most part if I needed.  I spent many afternoons   planting new items in the garden while Michael was at work.  The other great thing with raised beds is that the rain didn't stop me from picking in my garden.  I could walk easily on the grass beside the beds and harvest freely.  I didn't have to worry about sinking in the mud in a traditional row garden.  In the end, gardening is about harvest.  While I like it to be beautiful, I still need it to function well.  I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars just for the beauty factor. 

Do any of you have any suggestions concerning this garden issue?  What has worked well for you?  Have you had raised beds in the past and decided to go back to traditional row gardening?  If so, would you please let me know your reasons? 

grace and peace,

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

College Classes Back In Session

These two started their new semester of college classes this week.  Matthew called and said he didn't like to do the grown up things like paying bills.  He is enjoying his new classes though.  It is still strange for me not to have him living here with us.  We all talk to him several times throughout the day, but I miss seeing his smiling face.  And I miss that girlfriend of his.  I only get to see her about once a month, which isn't enough in my book.  Whenever he comes home, he eats whatever I prepare like there is no tomorrow.  He doesn't cull anything.  He leaves his "resident health nut" title at his apartment, and he enjoys the food...even the desserts.  He even asked me to bake cinnnamon rolls for him! 

grace and peace,