a muffin morning

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“I’ll measure the flour, you can dump it in,”

“You’re good at measuring.”

“And you’re good at dumping.”

“3 Tablespoons of sugar.”

“You don’t have to mix so strenuously.”

“1 Tablespoon of baking powder.”

“Baking powder?”

“And 1 teaspoon of salt.”

“Did you already put the salt in?  I wanted to use my little teaspoon.”

“Okay, now we have to put the wet ingredients in this bowl.”

“You can crack the egg, just let me pour the milk in first.”

“A whole cup of milk.”

“I need to melt half a stick of butter.”

“The key to perfect muffins is to never over-mix the batter.”

“Repeat after me, I will never over-mix my muffin batter.”

“I will never over-mix my muffin batter.”

Good girl.

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Sarah ate all 6 of her tiny muffins and then ate one of mine.  Then Caleb and Seth each had a muffin.  Ethan came home from picking up Tessa and they ate the remaining nine muffins which meant Michael, David, Jacob, and I did not get a muffin.  (12-3=9)

“I feel so bad,” said Tessa when she realized.

“I don’t.  I’m proud of us.” said Ethan with his eyes closed contentedly.

my birthday {2018}

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Yesterday was my birthday and Rich took the day off.  We had such a nice day together.  We took our books to the diner but never touched them.  We had plenty of things to talk about.  I had wanted him to try the homemade corned beef hash and we both ordered it with eggs and toast.  He liked it so much that he took me back for lunch so he could order it again.  Between breakfast and lunch he ate half a dozen eggs (over medium) and lots of hash.

He told me stories about his wrestling team and at one point we noticed one of the youth wrestlers across the room eating with his grandma and Rich went over to shake his hand and say hello.  During our meal he told me about a freshman who began the season so soft that he couldn’t do a pull up.  He couldn’t do a sit up.  But on Friday as they did conditioning Rich noticed him from across the room and he was easily doing pull ups on his own.  “Hey how many of those could you do when you first began the season?” he called.  “Zero, Coach!” was the happy answer.  He told me that wrestling is hard work, hard practices, but one of the boys answers when Rich asks, “How’re ya feeling?”  “Like a million bucks, Coach!”  We’re both so proud of the team captain who was so shy she cried when she first started having to speak publicly for the team a few years ago.  “She’s something else, Shan, she’s going to be something someday.  She’s brave in her own way.” and he told me a story about wrestling tape and singlets and how she got things done.  They aren’t perfect kids by any means, but they’ve been a pleasure for Rich to work with this year.  States are on Saturday!

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We left the diner and headed out to mail something to our son Jacob and then Rich said, “Where are we going?  It’s your birthday we can do anything.”  So I said, “Please please won’t you take me to the antique store in Sturbridge?” and he did.  Happiness is going to an antique store that you haven’t visited in a very long time.  We had plenty of time so I looked at every single thing in the store (two floors).

The first thing I studied (through the glass door) was stone fruit.  I’ve noticed over the years that I always pause over fake fruit.  How dumb.  But I do not collect it.  However, I was reading a magazine over Christmas and there was an article in it on “what is hot to collect next”‘.  Stone fruit was on the list along with a picture.  If you look at the fruit you would not think it was made of a solid stone, it looks lifelike, with bruises on the bananas and markings.  I made the decision that I would keep my eyes open for stone fruit since now I know it’s not dumb—after all, the magazine said it was a hot collectors item for 2018!  I didn’t buy any yesterday.  I didn’t realize it was so pricey.  But I believe I will come across it during some of my thrifting trips. . . . . . .

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Dawn, of course I thought of you, and my mom, too.  Vintage paper valentines!!!

This display case is done so beautifully!

Makes me want a display case in my own house that I can play with!

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Rich walked over to me with a Valentine and told me to put it in our stack of purchases for the day.  Inside it said:

Someday when I am older,
I think it would be fine
If you would be,
Sweetheart, to me
A loving Valentine

So many things brought tears to my eyes yesterday, I was deeply sentimental.

I went in for a hug about 7 times while we were browsing.

It was a love-connection day.

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I took pictures of things that I thought were interesting but not interesting enough to purchase.  One of the reasons that I love antiquing and thrift store shopping is it’s educational in a way, you get a sense of times past.  You can see the things that were in style 100 years ago…old photos, postcards, jewelry, art.  I love history.

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69.00   Excellent Shape  🙂

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This Cast Iron Amish Family tickled my fancy

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Baby photography from time gone by….I LOVE THIS LAUGHING BABY in a basket!!!!

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I collect HLC Fiestaware so I always always search for it.  I found this little set of black fiesta which was interesting because you don’t really see black out in “the wild” much.  The bowls were priced at 7 dollars each, the gravy boat was 14.  The creamer was missing from the coffee set.  I picked it up and looked it over but left it as I do have four small black fruit dishes already.

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“There really isn’t anything much to look at over here,” he teased.

“Oh look!  Gray!  I hardly ever see gray!”

“Who on earth would want GRAY FIESTAWARE?”

“Take my picture!”

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The mug and two bread plates were new, but the dinner plates were vintage gray so I bought one of them.  I’ve always liked gray in combination with pink and I have lots of Rose fiesta.

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The very bottom plate was a vintage Ivory chop plate in very good condition.  I LOVE chop plates they are so big and make lovely platters.

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**the most cheerful teacups** only 3 dollars said the sticker

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Not fiesta ~ ~ and yet I took a photo because Springtime!  Roses!  Pink!  Valentine’s Day!

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One last picture before getting our totals added and seeing how much we spent!

It really wasn’t too bad.

And then……time to drive down the road to pick out my birthday cakes.

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At my favorite bakery. . . .

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I got a chocolate peanut butter and a carrot cake.

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And then…..lunch.  As we got out of the truck to walk in the diner I noticed some people looking at me through the window.  “They must think I’m pretty or they can tell it’s my birthday”, I thought to myself.  But when we went in and walked to an empty table the man called out to Rich, “Hey, we were just admiring your truck!  That is one nice truck!”  It was awesome.  I simply love being humbled.

Generously buttered sour dough toast dipped in homemade clam chowder?  Comfort food.   Across the table from my very own husband of more than 20 years?  Soul-comfort.

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WHEN I GOT HOME THERE WAS A LITTLE PACKAGE and it was from my parents….a birthday check AND a homemade glorified dishcloth from MOM.  She made it up as she went along with an idea she had in mind.  I placed it on a scarlet cake plate to take a picture.

I love it.

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When I asked him to take a picture of me with the dishcloth so I could send it to mom, he took this first.

My husband and my fiestaware.  All very important to me.  🙂  I choose the middle.

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My birthday gifts from the antique store:

  1.  kitchen towel made from a flour sack with embroidery and three red and white doilies (MUCH less expensive than anthropologie!)
  2. betty crocker kitchen toy set (I LOVE)
  3. blue ceramic spoon (fiesta kitchen craft–a great find at 5 dollars!!!)
  4. snake book for Caleb
  5. Abe Lincoln book to read to the children
  6. and a Stereoscope viewer–Rich’s find, along with a stack of photos (very cool!)

 

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The next time I bake Sarah and I will do some miniature baking.  There are 2 cake pans, a muffin tin, a pie tin, a tiny cookie sheet, and mini cookie cutters.  So darling.

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Rich had a meeting at 5 and I spent time doing a puzzle and guess what?  Another gift from God—SUNSHINE after days of gloom and rain.  The cat agrees–sunshine is wonderful.

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MY FRIEND HANNAH who is on vacation in Hawaii, sent me this photo!!

And Joanna called to sing Happy Birthday.  We had the best little chat on the phone.

So many gratitude tears!

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The other day this package came from brother Dave.  He always remembers and he knows me so well.  Thank you Dave!  I got loving texts from my other 2 brothers and my sister and other family members throughout the day.  And of course Facebook makes birthdays extra fun and I heard from so many people I love.  So thankful to be on earth with all of you at this time.

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Rich took the video but when he stopped it he said, “I’m so sorry but that was like the worse singing of happy birthday we’ve ever had.”  I was thinking the same thing which is why I blew out the candles before the last note was finished.  LOL

 

we belong to the day (1 Thess. 5:8)

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Glory of the world makes life meaningless
Glory of God fulfills it.  ~CH Spurgeon

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Toys, books, videos, art supplies, blankets, music, and hot chocolate are ready and waiting.  It’s another snow day in our neck of the woods today.  The children and I are sitting inside a giant snow globe; outside the windows of our warm house are millions and millions of tiny white snowflakes shaking down from the clouds of heaven.

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“I see that if I would be happy in God, I must give Him all.  And there is wicked reluctance to do that.  I want Him–but I want to have my own way, too.  I want to walk humbly and softly before Him and I want to go where I shall be admired.  To whom shall I yield?  To God?  Or to myself?”  Elizabeth Prentiss

“Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain……”  Psalm 119:36

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”  Philippians 2:2

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“The way upward in true life and honor is to go downward in self-humiliation.  Renounce all, and you shall be rich; have nothing, and you shall have all things.  Try to be something, and you shall be nothing;  be nothing, and you shall live; that is the great lesson which Jesus would teach us, but we are slow to learn…… CH Spurgeon

“I believe that selfishness is the front-door key of despair.”  Spurgeon

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“As long as we have the itch of self-regard we shall want the pleasure of self-approval; but the happiest moments are those when we forget our precious selves and have neither–but have everything else (God, our fellow humans, animals, the garden and the sky) instead.”  CS Lewis, letters, 1954

God
our fellow humans
animals
the garden and the sky

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“…..the burdens of my heart rolled away….”

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Whenever something is bothering me, and I’m in a moral quandary, I dig out the ol’ journal and pen and start searching for quotes, verses, and other writings that have to do with my current topic of interest.  I talk things over with Joanna or Rich and that helps, too.  I love that I can keep my Bible near and read it for comfort and correction at any time of day or night.

A balm for my soul that always heals.

I come away feeling so much lighter and free.

*****

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(Dear Brother Dave, these are the sneakers Seth bought with the birthday gift card you sent him.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2018

“Since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.”

most delicious chocolate cake

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Seth’s birthday

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had a backdrop of pure white and a sky of baby blue.

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It was absolutely magical in the woods.  Photos just do not do it justice as a photo turns everything flat and motionless and room temperature.  Reality has endless depth, layers, temperature, smells, sounds, feelings of expectation, exploration. . . . .

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nature’s playground

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here comes the sunshine

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They insisted on the short cut back home which involves a perilous crossing of the stream.

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No one got wet.

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For dinner that night……looks amusingly not that good….creamy scalloped potatoes with pan fried sausages on top.  Yum!

Birthday cake for dessert; two round cake layers with fresh whipped cream, sweetened strawberries, and homemade fudge sauce.

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topped with chocolate dipped strawberries.

I made everything myself except I did use a cake mix for the chocolate cake.

((((presented upon a Scarlet fiestaware cake plate))))

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It was truly as delicious as it looked.

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One piece remained but was quickly eaten the next day.

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“I got no cake.”

“I only got this dumb green streamer in my collar.”

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We took a photo that night at 9:20 pm, the exact time of his birth, nine years earlier.

 

 

 

9 years old!

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GUESS WHAT?

Seth’s birthday is today and also:

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We woke up to a dumping of fluffy white stuff.

No school!

Thankfully, the friend he invited can still come for a play day.  His mom is bringing him as soon as the roads clear up.

It’s only 9:22.  in the morning.  Just between you and me I wish I were still in bed asleep.

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Caleb took these.

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I’ll treasure them forever.

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We look a lot alike in this one.

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My sweet and handsome Seth, who is now nine.

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Happy Birthday dear son!

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I love you.

 

no school today (wednesday)

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David is practicing a song on the piano.

A candle is flickering on the coffee table.

Outside the window all is gray (sky) and white (snow) and black (trees).  We are fast losing daylight.  It’s 4:10pm.

Time to turn on lamps, think about what to made for dinner.

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This morning Caleb asked to make breakfast.  He made bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches for himself and younger siblings.  Seth wrote up the menu and took orders.

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This book is so good!

Since today was a snow day but the roads were clear, I took the three boys to our favorite barbershop for haircuts.  Only two boys complained at the news and said, “I don’t want to get my haircut!”  I asked them if they were still three and said go get in the car.  Soon we were on our way. . . . .listening to music, going to the ATM because he only takes cash payments, and pulling into the parking lot.  There were 4 haircuts ahead of us so we had to wait a while.  Thankfully I had my book.  Sports TV was loudly playing and it was fun to watch the boys get their hair cut.  He gave me a notebook and pen when we were done, and the boys each received a piece of very hard bubble gum and a lollipop.

What’s for lunch?  Two boys wanted Dunkin Donuts egg sandwiches but Caleb and I ran into Chipotle for burritos to go.

Back at home, Jack came over and the younger kids went outside to play.

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David, Grace, and I watched Myths & Monsters on Netflix (highly recommended).

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Dave with a new hair cut.  (he has a scrubbed face (eye) from wrestling).

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After the first episode I fell sound asleep on the couch and the kids came back inside to play.

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Rich just came home early.

Happy Snow Day!

 

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brisk jaunt

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We had a deep deep freeze last week and now…..it’s 58 degrees.  Oh it’s just so lovely outside, the air is mild and moist, slippery mushy snow is covering the ground, a mix of warm air and cold snow adds a misty fog to the atmosphere.  Grace and I couldn’t resist a brisk jaunt.

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On school mornings, David’s alarm wakes him and he then goes downstairs to his brother’s room to wake him up.  Their bus arrives at 6:30 and I often don’t wake up until after they leave.  Seth and Sarah wake up next and I’m always awake and busy with them getting their breakfast and packing snacks.  Well, this morning to my surprise Caleb appeared from his bedroom half asleep.  He and David had both overslept and missed their bus.  I drove them to school, but had to wait until the digger got out of the way…..the town was digging out the beaver dam yet again.  A deep dark cold watery mix is what is left of the solidly frozen beaver pond.

Ice impressively thick and just the gentlest of blues……

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She threw in a small boulder of ice.

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Ice thickness

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fullsizeoutput_4fd9Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for thy Lord to hear,
O praise Him! Alleluia!

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Be not dismayed whatever betide
God will take care of you
Beneath His wings of love abide
God will take care of you

God will take care of you
Through everyday o’er all the way
He will care for you
God will take care of you.

***