cherry bars

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The path to the chicken coop is getting easier to trudge.  With all the snow we had last week it became a little annoying to wade through it multiple times a day to check on things.  We still have snow everywhere but our footsteps have stomped away most of the snow on the way to the coop so it’s easier to walk although I do find myself getting grumpy at times.  “Why did we put it so far from the house?” “The snow is blinding me!”  “Oh I just got some in my shoe”  “I hate snow”  “Slip”  “Fall” “trip”.  I spent more time down there this morning simply because although the wind was blowing quite a bit, the sun was shining and there was an actual warmth.  I said hello to the rabbits and the chickens said hello to me.  I sat down on the feed bag and a chicken hopped on my lap.  One sat on the rabbit cage right behind me and softly pecked my hair.  They are curious birds.

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Invariably, we have a cat visitor or two, as well.  The chickens become nervous.

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They like to sink down into the hay to lay their egg and I always think to myself that they seem to enjoy the time spent waiting for it to arrive.  I watch them fuss and arrange the hay strand by strand and get as comfortable as possible.  If another hen comes too close, the one sitting makes an ugly caw  which means “Get away from me!”

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They do not fancy the snow and do not go far these days.  I prop the door open for fresh air and they hop in and out of the coop.

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A favorite egg laying spot.

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another curious cat visitor

He ended up with no where to go, so he had to back shuffle until he could jump back down.  It was cute because he stirred up dust along the way.

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Some of the hens melted down to the floor in the sleepy sunshine.  They stretched out their wings to soak in some healing rays.

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As soon as a hen was done, I took her egg and put it in my pocket.  (They would rather me let them eat them).  I have over a dozen saved in this way.  What to make?

How about Cherry Bars?

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1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 (21 oz) cans cherry pie filling

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the extracts.  Combine flour and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture just until combined.

Spread 3 cups batter into a greased 15 by 10 by 1 inch baking pan.  Spread with pie filling.  Drop the remaining batter by teaspoonfuls over filling.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until done.  Cool on a wire rack.  Combine *the glaze ingredients; drizzle over the top.  Cut into bars.  Yield: 5 dozen

*THE GLAZE
I cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2-3 Tablespoons milk

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recipe source:  taste of home baking classics cookbook  pg 370

 

spring again

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“Listen to His voice, and cling to Him” Deuteronomy 30:20

Good morning!  I’ve been contentedly puttering around the house.  The children were sent off to school and I have been doing dishes, laundry, and general organizing and home keeping.  There is always a lot to do around here to keep me busy.  I also journaled and wrote a little letter to Marcia.

We were away all weekend and then Rich worked from home yesterday so I have not been on the computer…….

Uncle Roger’s funeral was on Saturday.  I haven’t mentioned here that he passed away from cancer at the age of 44.   He was a Christian man who loved his family most of all, spent his life devoted to the same church congregation, and quietly and contentedly lived.  He and Aunt Colleen, along with the girls, visited us often through the years and it was always an Event for us and always blogged about.  Such fun.  He will be missed.

All of this has given me so much to think about.  Things like being sincere, being quiet, being yourself, remembering what really matters in life, and the love of family.  The way Aunt Colleen has handled this journey has made me respect and love her all the more.  What a grace-filled woman.  Never asking for attention.  Just living life and letting God lead, open to His will, sad, yes, but full of hope in Jesus.  And she took such good care of her husband…….  I pray God’s richest blessings on her and the girls now as they continue on.

On Sunday we went to church at the place I went to all through my growing up years.  (The same one Uncle Roger and Aunt Colleen have attended, too.)  It was wonderful to see and hug many old familiar friends.

We were able to visit Mom and Dad after church (I posted a bunch of photos on instagram).  And oh that was just the best…just to be together.

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Yesterday afternoon we went to Costco and then to the grocery store (because Costco doesn’t have cayenne pepper or organic apple cider vinegar).  While we waited for Rich to come back out, Seth climbed a tree.  Very fitting for the first day of Spring, right?   Caleb and I were standing underneath him and this picture is of Seth looking down at his brother who was worried he might fall down and reminiscing of a time when Seth was showing off and consequently hurt himself.  I said, “It’s only a tree, Caleb, quite safe.”

Look at the design of the branches against the blue sky.

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Who is Michael?  At first glance, he is simply a Very Large Young Man.  He’s over six feet tall, 27 years old, and weighs about 400 pounds.  So when he’s in the room, his presence is hard to ignore, if not impossible, and you just don’t know what to make of him.  Years and years ago (about 5) we met him at our *new to us at that time* church.  He and Jacob became good enough friends that he started to come to our house on a constant basis.  Although slightly awkward at first to have him always around, after I got to know him I realized that Michael is an extremely friendly, willing to help, people loving, witty, extroverted, goofy, Christ-loving, theology-curious, writer of epic letters, fun person who has carved a niche for himself into our family.  He works at a home for troubled boys and is PERFECT for his job.  He spends almost every Sunday night -Wednesday morning at our house and sleeps downstairs with Jacob, Caleb, and Seth, on his own blow up mattress.   I have talked to him about everything from raising kids, church life, depression, to bodily functions (quite reluctantly on my part because I’m a lady).  I can say anything to this guy without fear of judgment.  Rich and I love him to death, and so do the kids.  He went to Costco with Rich and me and the kids yesterday because he wanted to buy some seltzer water……..so to answer the question “Who is Michael” is kinda hard.  He’s Jacob’s friend is the answer in a nut-shell.  But so much more.  He’s been such a gift to our family.  A brother in Christ.  I’m so glad Jacob has a friend in him.

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” Mark Twain

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Dumping the entire bag of sunflower seed on the driveway has continued to be a very wise decision on my part.  We are getting so many more birds now.  And I don’t have to keep track of the feeder!

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Mourning doves are such lovely birds.  I love their black eyes and the way they waddle.

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“There is an unreasonable joy to be had from the observation of small birds going about their bright, oblivious business” Grant Hutchison

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(journal)

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As I putter around the house I stop to gaze out the window at the birds.

I find my cats doing the same thing.

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I have an orchid in bloom!

I’ve kept it alive for several years and it always blooms around this time.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:  The old is has gone the new is here!”

woodpecker

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I counted and there are 70 more photos very similar to this one left on my camera card.

Apparently this was a very exciting moment in my day yesterday.

*****

If we should be so lucky as to touch the lives of many, so be it.  But if our lot is no more than the setting of a table, or the tending of a garden, or showing a child a path in a wood, our lives are not less worthy.  ~Kent Nerburn

a teeny bit of home this morning

In a little yellow house in Connecticut, there is a family.  And in this family is a mom and a dad, along with a big sister, a big brother, a regular brother, a little brother, and a little sister.

(((There are also two bigger brothers but they are far far away, in Vermont.)))

Snow is blizzardly blowing around the house today, filling the darkened air with bits of white.

The dear dad is busy working from home.

Hi, I’m the mom.  And I literally just suggested to Grace and David to  “Go put together a pretzel.”

Then, Caleb came upstairs to tattle on Seth.

So I bought them a new movie (via a smart TV and amazon prime) to watch and now I’m in my room to do a quick blog and then go make lunch and gallons of popcorn……….

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Grace has been in this same spot all morning, blissfully reading, napping, looking at her phone, and petting the cat.  “I looooove himmmmmm” she purrs.

I decided to pick up the camera and take some photos but be aware that everywhere I look is life abundant in the form of stuff everywhere…not mess, but life….papers, coloring books, crayons, puzzles, stuffed animals, boots and shoes, dishes left out, a baseball glove or two or three, jackets, laundry to be folded, cereal boxes left out, a sock here and there, the smell of bacon, etc.

It’s all good!  It’s FAMILY!

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They play together all the time and I most-of-the-time love it.  It’s constant laughing, problems, trying not to involve mom when working things out, and play.

(the dog yawns when he’s embarrassed and/or shy))

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((The dog was anxious about Seth getting too close.))

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Then, I sent the kids back about 7 feet and ((the dog was happy to have been released.))

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Seth     Caleb     Sarah

8     11     6

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I took a photo of him through the glass door.  He was on a conference call.  (those arms)

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11:45 and look who just got up.  He told me that last night after everyone went to bed he made a frozen pizza and “ate the whole thing.”  To which I replied, “Sodium city” and he said, “Yeah.”

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I guess it was the duct tape.

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A Happy SNOWY Tuesday from me to you.

you are loved

“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou

the last of winter

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Four nights ago, thanks to a text from my neighbor, we were able to see this amazing lunar halo around the moon.  It was so wide around that I almost couldn’t get it all in the picture.  It’s a beautiful sight that I won’t soon forget.  I learned that these halos mean that a storm is coming and indeed the children did have Friday off from school for a snow day and we have a storm coming tomorrow.

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“It was a long cold winter for the birds and animals on the hill, but the little old man and the little old woman put out food for them until the warm spring came.  And that was the end of the BIG SNOW.”  ~ The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader

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I aimed my camera through the windows of the dining room, watching the birds, thinking thoughts.

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“Well lived days are completed years, and the years well lived as they come make a life beautiful and full.  In such a life no special preparation of any kind is needed.  He who lives thus is always ready.  Each day prepares for the next, and the last day prepares for glory.”  JR Miller

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“And is this heaven?  And am I there?
How short the road!  How swift the flight!
I am all life, all eye, all ear:
Jesus is here–my soul’s delight.”
~Isaac Watts

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And today?  The children are at school.  Bright sun is shining but coldly and tomorrow we expect a snowstorm, another snow day?

These are the last frozen offerings of winter weather which will make the springtime thaw even more welcome.

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There is a spot on the eaves which constantly drips, and it’s so cold outside that we have not a burning bush, but an ice covered one!  It’s so pretty when the sun shines through it.

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Happy Monday, friends.
You are loved.

“Here in the shadow of God’s love forever I’ll abide,
So glad, so blest, so sure, so safe; so more than satisfied!”  Elizabeth Prentiss

 

now

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Little joys.

Living in the moment.

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Because the moment is what you have.

Look out with eyes of love, eyes of wonder.  Live now.

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Wrestling season is over and now it’s all about brothers and sisters, bare feet, early spring, and baseball.

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thin ice and ripples on the pond

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different mosses

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things growing in the flower bed

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Marvellous happy it was to be
Alone, and yet not solitary.
O out of terror and dark, to come
In sight of home.
~Walter de la Mare.

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When you’re a busy woman and you step outside at the end of the day to let the dog out and see glory.

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The sky was high and clear with a brilliant moon.  But what made it special was a layer of clouds passing between it and earth.  All the light from the moon lit up the clouds.

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“my soul is elsewhere, I’m sure of that.
and I intend to end up there.”  RUMI

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the stars were twinkling

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God’s glory is on tour in the skies,
God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
Madame Day holds classes every morning,
Professor Night lectures each evening.
Their words aren’t heard,
their voices aren’t recorded,
But their silence fills the earth:
unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.

Psalm 19

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The further the clouds got from the moon the darker they became so that I couldn’t make them out very well anymore.

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*****

“The LORD will command his loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me” (Psalm 42:8).