The other night I was tucked right into the corner of the sectional reading a book.  First Caleb came and sat to my left.  Then Walter the cat came and curled up at my feet.  David sat down, then Seth got on the coffee table with a deck of cards.  Sarah came crawling over (she was a cat) to watch.  Seth wanted David to teach him some card tricks.

I felt bliss.


I’m reading through Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Newbery books and found this quote in The Long Winter:  “It was so wonderful to be there, safe at home, sheltered from the winds and the cold.  Laura though that this must be a little bit like Heaven, where the weary are at rest.”  pg. 94

I’m sure reading these books throughout my formative years helped secure my ideals and make me determined to have the kind of home that my own children feel safe and secure in, too.  The sounds, smells, conversation, laughter, candle-light, pets, blankets, and the ever-popular family pile ups on the couch are just a small part of what makes a house a home.  Rich and I and the children, together.  This is what makes my heart happy and content most of all.


It’s sunny and 32 degrees outside, with a bright blue sky.  As I look out the window I see the tops of the trees waving back and forth in the wind.

Sherlock the cat is next to me, charmingly licking his paw and washing his face with it.

The dishwasher and dryer are humming, doing the work so I don’t have to.  What a blessing to have the ease of modern appliances.

I spent time making room for the Christmas tree.  I moved the table and chairs from in front of the livingroom window into the kitchen, and rearranged piles of books and papers (lots of papers were thrown away).  Now we are all set to get the tree tomorrow.


I foraged for christmas decorations this week.  It was nice to wander around with scissors until my hands and cheeks were numb with cold.

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I changed the table-cloth and scattered some oranges.


The pine branches and berries make a wild bouquet for the table.


Every once in a while I see Parker the dog walk by with a clementine in his mouth.  It’s a mystery to me.


Sarah reading her book the other day.


She asked for this one for Christmas.  “Take a picture of it so you can remember the title,” she said, so I did.  “Mom, the flash.  You can’t see his face.”  “That’s okay, this is a magic cover.  See, the title of the book is The Sun Trail, so when you take a photo the sun appears in the picture!”  “Um, okay.”


Sometimes on a Sunday afternoon you just gotta trap the energetic son in your arms so you can sleep.



and old faithful recipe….making this for the last 18 years!


I was amused by the way he got comfortable on my lap one day.



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I like it when a child sits right next to me.


The neighbor boy came over to see if Seth could play and I asked him to turn around so I could take a photo of his jersey featuring my favorite football team!

I got to visit my sister-in-law and the baby the other day!


This is Cassandra’s first holiday season as a mama and she’s doing great!  A sense of humor will be important throughout the entire parenting journey!


The other morning I was driving the kids to school and as we got to the end of the road the sun was coming up over the hill and shining beautifully on the church in front of us.  I was first in line at the stop light so had to take a quick photo.


scarlet fiesta mug of coffee in the afternoon


Sarah and I made paper chains so we could tear one off each morning until Christmas!

They are also eating the dearest tiny chocolates each day, too.


I got a new shirt and jeans from anthropologie yesterday!


Delish hazelnut latte from the downtown coffee shop

I made the kids muffins one evening and they were so good I have to share the recipe:

Aunt Betty’s Blueberry Muffins from Taste of Home


  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats  (I used quick)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • In a large bowl, combine oats and orange juice; let stand for 5 minutes. Beat in the egg, oil and sugar until blended. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; stir into oat mixture just until moistened. Fold in blueberries.
  • Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm.
I found a Samantha-cat in Sarah’s closet.

reading by wine and candlelight……..


Yesterday a friend from instagram shared a photo with me of her old yellow copies of the Little House books, which made me remember mine that were packed away in my cedar chest.  So this morning I got them out.  It gave me such a rush of nostalgia.

These were my very first books.


8 years old!



And old Christmas card that Rich gave me……


Sarah, this morning, after I fixed her hair for school.  Today she and her classmates were all supposed to wear red.



Inside, outside!


I hope each of you have a lovely weekend!


Love, Shanda


9 thoughts on “lately……

    • Me too, I am almost done with The Long Winter now and I am still enjoying the stories. I remember when I finished one of the books for the first time and feeling emotional, and I was only about 8. That’s a good book, to speak to the heart of a child!!

    • Pam, thank you for always saying something on my posts, it means a lot to me!!! Sherlock makes me laugh the way he squeezes himself in the box like that. I had to move the table and his box so now he is homeless (I can’t get him to sleep in it now that it’s in the kitchen).

  1. It took me a few seconds to spot Samantha-cat. Sarah’s hair is so cute! That niece of yours with the Hug Me shirt. How could anyone resist?

  2. I have followed your blog for a long time but never commented. I made your muffins yesterday and they are delicious. I have a 7 year old daughter and a 11 year old son so I enjoy watching your children grow up too. Thank you for a love and hope filled blog.

    • Hi Donna, Thank you so much for the note here. I love knowing that people read the blog. I was telling my cousin the other day that one of the reasons I blog is because I like meeting new women that have the same interests as I do. Glad you liked the muffins! I was wondering how they would taste with the oatmeal but they had such good flavor and stayed moist, too. Merry Christmas! Love, Shanda

  3. The little house books are my absoloute favourite! We’ve read them out loud over and over through the years .
    The chicken biscuit recipe looks so delicious for a chilly day… I must try it! Total comfort food!
    Love the new jeans and top! So nice to find unique pieces! Have a wonderful day ⛄️❄️

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