Poor Rich had a rough start to his day.  He has been getting up early to work out with Ethan, who has to stay in shape for his college wrestling team.  This morning when they stepped out the door to leave for the track, they were confronted by a huge mess on the porch.

I knew something was the matter a few hours later when Rich was back home and stomping around the house getting showered and dressed for work.  So, the first chance I got I asked him if something was wrong.

“Oh, a few things irritated me this morning.  First of all, someone, instead of taking the trash out to the bin, hung it on the porch railing instead.  A raccoon must have gotten into it because it was ALL over the place and not only that but it was nothing but raw eggs.  I had to scrub and hose the porch and steps off.  And then, there were no towels in the bathroom but that wasn’t that big of a deal because I’m used to there being no towels in the bathroom, but when I got out of the shower I slipped on the floor.  Also, the big things of shampoo that I bought before camp are gone so I had to go out to get my bag and use my travel shampoo.”

“Wait.  Raccoons don’t like eggs?”  I asked innocently.

“Oh, they liked them.  They had a great time with them.  They were all over the porch.”

I was highly amused, and he was too, at that point.  But he was not happy in the midst of these surprising experiences.

I confess, it was I who hung the garbage on the railing.  And I was the one who filled the bag with raw eggs, too.  One of my hens needs to be “dispatched” because she has been laying nothing but a daily stinky egg.  I never know which egg I crack will be stinky so I am determined to stay at the coop and check each and every hen’s egg.  When I find out who is laying these unusable eggs, I’m going to have to get rid of her.  It wouldn’t be so bad if I could visually identify which egg it was (out of 14 per day) but unfortunately there are a lot of eggs that look identical, thus all the light brown eggs are under constant suspicion.  As I told Grace, it has become an obsession with me.  Sarah Joy saw me industriously smelling a raw egg, which I had broken in a cup, and said, “What are you DOING?  That’s discusting!”  We can’t have this, we can’t.  The mystery must be solved so I can enjoy my hens and eggs again.

((stay tuned.))

So yeah, it was pouring rain yesterday as I reached out the door to hang the trash on the railing.  I meant to tell someone to take it to the bins, but I completely forgot.



Ethan was distraught.  He was hungry.  He’s been working out so much and I am of the opinion that he needs to eat more…..so yesterday I was in the kitchen for a few hours, making pancakes and eggs,  and then a delicious homemade coffee cake.  Soon not only Ethan was happy, but we all were, and sugar was falling like snow.


Seth was too close to me in the kitchen and I couldn’t resist.

We ate coffeecake while playing a game.


Seth had come upstairs all upset because Caleb had “broken his nose with a hard pillow.”  I felt it very carefully.  “It’s not broken.” I said. “Lean against my leg and I’ll give you a back scratch.”

It was a contented moment, to play a game with Grace, eat coffee cake, comfort a small son, and look over to the couch now and then where Ethan (who finally had a full tummy thanks to me) was sound asleep under a striped crocheted afghan.


Gratitude unlocks
the fullness of life.

It turns what we have
into enough……



Grace spent some time on a school paper which needs to be done by the end of this month.  When she was finished for the day, she stacked up all of her things and proclaimed, “I have so many books that give me joy!”


Happiness is an afternoon power walk with a cheerful, talkative daughter & admiring a giant picturesque pine tree by the side of the road.


This morning I went outside to check on the gardens and smell the flowers.  It’s going to be a wicked hot and humid day (for us new englanders) so we will spend the day inside.


I found Gentleman Gray in one of his wild moods, attacking my morning glory vine which I have been patiently training up the porch railings.  I took his picture right before he fell off the porch, with a little help from a friend.


turtles, flowers, dogs, & birds


I’m skipping right over Tuesday and blogging about yesterday because Tuesday’s pictures are on my phone and I don’t feel like retrieving them at the moment…..

We spent the entire day at home as I was feeling kind of crappy (allergies? not sure…but I was tired and fuzzy headed).

The kids basically did whatever they wanted to do, within reason of course.


Just another carefree day, the kind we love best.

I went over to take care of my poor chickens.  And on the way back from the coop I found a teeny tiny turtle in the grass by the pond!!!!!  I put it in the front pocket of my sweatshirt and darned if it didn’t run right back out onto the ground.  Baby turtles are FAST.


It was so cute.  I took it in the house to show the children.  Sarah didn’t want to touch it but I “made” her.  (encouraged) She was shaking and giggling nervously.  But once she had it “This is my first time touching a turtle!” She didn’t want to let it go.  She wanted it for a pet.


The two of us sat by the edge of the pond and watched it enter the water for the very first time.  Then we walked around trying to find more turtles, but we didn’t.  Maybe we will on another spring day.


There was a line at the nesting box.  This photo is of the front of one hen and the back of another.  I say “poor” chickens because, as I have mentioned in past posts, there is a fox after them.  So they have to stay locked up for now.  Mr. Fox has only killed one hen and that was heartbreaking enough.  This morning I plan on driving to Agway to purchase a supply of tempting feed and treats for my poor hens, to make their stay in the coop more tolerable.

I do let them out in their fenced in area if I am able to be at home to continually check on them.




Ethan spent the day with his girlfriend, Tessa.  She brought her dog to our house, so Parker the Dog had a lovely time yesterday with his bestie, Benji.  They got wet, they got muddy, they played their favorite dog games.


Benji received an egg from my pocket, just like Parker, but he was clueless.  See the invisible question mark above his head?  Parker was already lapping out raw egg from HIS shell which he broke himself with his teeth.  Benji’s egg is by his left paw, right where he dropped it.




So Caleb took Benji’s egg to the pathway and broke it for him……yum.  Nothing like a raw egg still warm from the chicken (so they say).


Later on, my husband got home and took the boys to Little League practice.  (Grace made chili for dinner).  I sat on the porch with my book but didn’t read it because my friend Sarah Joy had lots and lots to talk about.  I had my camera with me and shot two bird pictures from my chair on the porch as I listened to her chit-chat.  Not too bad for spur-of-the-moment photography, with the birds about a mile away (slight exaggeration).

A Flicker sat on the very tippy top of the dead tree in front of the house.  I read that they eat on the ground—they eat mainly ants and beetles, using their beak to dig them up.  They are such a beautiful bird, one of my favorites.  They have polka dots, a nice black “necklace” and a patch of red on the back of their necks.


And then Sarah and I saw a duck.

We went inside after this and she read me 30 pages of a 1904 school Primer (early reader).  She snuggled up into my side and I smelled her hair and listened as she read in a sweet voice, laughing together at the funny parts.  (we totally get 1904 humor).


old magic


Today was dentist day for two of my children.

I wrote a list of things to do and I only have one more to cross off.

There is homemade chicken soup simmering on the stove.

The house is quiet…..


“Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds, your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.  You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.  How precious is your unfailing love, O God!  All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.”  Psalm 36:5-6


One of the joys of life for me personally is when I manage to get outside for a walk through the woods and the field up by our house.  I never know what I might see, but always with a hopeful heart, the sign of my hope is the ever-present camera around my neck.

Sometimes it’s simply the way the sun shines through the trees, or the beauty of a pattern in the bark of a tree.  Other times it might be a butterfly or a moth, an interesting insect, or bubbles in the stream.  Once I saw a porcupine way up in a tree top.

Today I saw a flock of bluebirds.  Seeing them brought me right out of my thoughts and into the challenge of trying to get a decent picture.

I tried to send as much of a “I’m your friend” vibe as I possibly could but they were still suspicious.




I also saw a woodpecker, a cardinal, and a flock of juncos.  I’m thankful to live near a place where there is running water and plenty of wild seed and berries for the birds.


I collected this lovely little nest out of the bushes and briars.  I love the way paper birch bark is used and wrapped round and round the nest.  And after a season of fall and winter, all the old nests have filled with berries and seeds.


I left this one in the briars.  But see how it’s all filled up?  Nature’s own bird feeder.


I sat under a tree for a little while to listen to the water and pray.


And then I walked back home to feed the hens and gather (3) eggs.


I put the nest in a vase of baby pink carnations.


Grace surprised me by coming home after school because she’s feeling under the weather. I gave her pain meds, hot tea, a warmed up corn bag, and a blanket.  She put her robe on and snuggled up with a book, and is now currently sleeping peacefully.


I stopped by the library today to return books.  I discovered three LM Montgomery books in the discard/withdrawn pile, free for the taking.  Since I already have copies of these I would like to offer them to one of my blog readers….I only ask that whoever wants them doesn’t already have them and also has not read them.  You are in for a treat!

email me at goodtobe.home@yahoo.com.  I’ll need your address and will mail them to you book rate ASAP.  If there is more than one request, the first person to contact me will receive them.

The books have been claimed!  I’ll post more free books if and when I come across them.


“Oh, the old magic had not gone.  The world was still full of it.”  Anne of Ingleside

a cat, Ethan wrestling, Grace’s friend, & my books



We can’t keep kids or cats away from our beautiful Christmas tree!  And it makes me smile.

Hello my friends.  Rich and I are together today.  We went downtown for breakfast and then to the mall to finish up our shopping.  We are home now.  He has his feet up on the coffee table and my feet are on his lap along with his laptop.  And, I have my laptop, too.  Parker is next to me licking his leg loudly and Gentleman Gray is curled up on a blanket at the end of the couch.  It’s dark and pouring rain outside.  Poor Caleb will not get snow for Christmas this year, I’m afraid.

Have I mentioned that Rich is the head coach for our school’s wrestling team?  The first tournament was on Saturday and I got right up at the crack of dawn with him and rode with the team on the bus to the location, which was an hour away.  Seth and Sarah came, too.  Grace came along because she’s the team manager.  It’s a family affair.


Here is a picture of Ethan after he won a match.  The assistant coach is talking things over with him, his name is Jim.  Little brother Seth is hanging around wanting to say “good job” to his big brother.  ‘Cause that’s what you do.



Ethan is pretty intense so it’s nice when he cracks a slight smile.




Later on, Ethan got bloody and lost a match.  There’s his Dad in the background, and Coach Jim is about to take his arm and lead him to the trainer to get cleaned up.  Oh and there’s Seth again.


Here is a picture of Ethan right after he won another match.  All in all, he did very well.  He wants to do nothing but win, his heart is in the right place, but this time he lost 2 and won 2.  Ethan is a senior this year and we have high hopes that he will continue to do well in wrestling, and then he will move on to baseball.  Before we know it he will graduate, and I hate to say this but it looks like he’s heading for the service after graduation.  I’m trying not to think about it but stay tuned because by God’s grace that blog post will eventually be written.


THESE TWO ARE SO CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Grace and her suitor.  I took their picture from clear across the gym because I can’t help myself.


I hope your Christmas plans are all coming together.  I have decorated the house.  I have bought and wrapped the gifts.  I have planned a Christmas Eve brunch.  I have made cookies….but they have all been eaten so I plan on making more if I can gather up enough interest…I feel as though I don’t really need to eat anymore cookies.  I’ve been reading books instead of baking.  One of my favorite authors is Janice Holt Giles, who wrote books in the 1960’s.  “Pre internet” fiction is my favorite, it seems less spoiled and more sincere.  I read her book, Hannah Fowler years and years ago–many times, and finally got around to reading several more of her books which I picked up at library booksales.  I finished Tara’s Healing yesterday and then started Savanna.  I would be interested in knowing if there are anymore Giles fans out there!

David’s bus will arrive in half an hour so I have just enough time to read a few more chapters before the late afternoon rush of children/homework/wrestling practice/dinner begins.

You are loved.  ~Shanda

If you’re alone, I’ll be your shadow. If you want to cry, I’ll be your shoulder. If you want a hug, I’ll be your pillow. If you need to be happy, I’ll be your smile. But anytime you need a friend, I’ll just be me. ~Author Unknown



















self control

against such things there is no law.

Good evening, my friends.

Today is a wonderful day.  I am finally feeling more like myself.  Thank the Lord for doctors and modern medicine.  After I got the kids out the door for school, my oldest son Jacob got up and showered.  When he came downstairs he told me that he didn’t have to go to college today so I mentioned that I was going to go shopping in about an hour.  I had some photos to pick up and some things I needed to get.  He right away showed his willingness to go along with me without even being asked…he said, “Oh, than I can show you those legos at the mall that I wanted to get the boys for Christmas.”  It made me smile that he wanted to go with me.

He drove me after I said I would give him gas money.  Gas money is very important to 18 year old young men.  He talked to me the whole time we were together.  And if he wasn’t talking, he was singing along to his music.  He and his girlfriend share a spotify music account now, isn’t that romantic?  They also did community service together yesterday by picking up litter along some of the main roads in our area.

Jacob LOVES music.  He has quite a varied collection, from classical to Christian metal.

We went to several stores, including Starbucks and Five Guys (burgers) for lunch.  Then he drove us to his school so that we could pay for his next semester.  He walked me around and showed me the library.  He loves his classes, his professors, and the campus.  I’m so thankful for the way he is adjusting and becoming independent.  The place he works for originally hired him for the Holidays, but recently asked him to stay on full-time.  He loves his job and the people he has met.


The chickens get bowls of old leftovers and they love it.  It looks sickening to us humans, though.  I always have to laugh when I hand a bowl over to a child and say “run this down to the chickens” and they do, while gagging.


Just beyond the hens, in that spot that looks like briars, is a small little pond nestled down a bank.  I love that little pond, and so do the chickens.  They make their way down and drink from it.  Beyond that (the building you see) is our garage.


Holiday FIESTAWARE display!


precious children coming home off the bus


Dear teachers, your students notice everything you do.  The other day I told Sarah she would make a good teacher someday and after sitting there thinking about it she said, “No I don’t think so.  It’s such hard work!  And I don’t know how to make a star!”

Tis the season for gingerbread men.  She brought another one home today.  It’s a paper plate painted brown, with a circle at the top of it for a head and oval arms and legs decorated with glitter.  Only it looks more like a brown turtle then a gingerbread man.


Saturday morning these guys went to a wrestling practice.


Grace brought her rabbit inside for a little while and we had such a time watching funny Gentleman Gray visit with him from the top of the cage.



I put a small box inside of her cage yesterday and she had a great time chewing it up into a bed.


beauty in an apple core


beauty outside the door

Going back to the aloe vera plant.  Just a few months ago the planter contained one big “mama” plant that was so big that it was tipping the whole planter over unless I balanced it against the wall.  The appearance was beginning to bother me so I cut it right off and threw it away.  It has been a delight to see so many baby plants grow up in it’s place.  I hope to divide it soon and share with friends.  I’m sure there is a parable in there somewhere.

Tonight I am picking my dear friend Hannah up from the airport and I cannot wait.



we have a new kitten


Feeling incredibly lazy at the moment because I am so gosh tired.

We have been gone all weekend, Jacob drove his car “back home” to NY for the first time and ugh was it stressful (for me) but he did an awesome job.  He’s a natural driver, it seems.  After all, he is 18 and a half years old, it’s time to drive and he’s doing it well.

We had two hotel rooms side by side with the kids.  Jacob and Ethan shared a bed, Seth and Caleb slept on couch cushions on the floor, Grace and Sarah shared a sofa bed, Dave had a sofa bed to himself, and Rich and I slept together in the other bedroom.

The hotel free breakfast diningroom used white fiesta!

We were in NY for a family reunion.  I’m going to post pictures probably tomorrow of the weekend but now that we are home, I only have time and energy to show you our new baby.


He has no name yet!   We are thinking about Smoky or Michael.  Rich calls him Smut (a noun meaning,  “small flake of soot or other dirt”)  He’s a little boy and we got him from my Aunt Carol’s house.  My cousin Katie was giving him away.  Isn’t he adorable?


He rode home with Jacob, Ethan, and Grace.  He came with a box.  He threw up and went to the bathroom in it during the ride.


He seems fine now that he’s out of the car.  Here he is, watching a little TV.

He’s also taken a nap with me which was very relaxing for us both.  I could feel his tiny body snuggled into my back and when I woke up he purred for the first time at his new house.

He watched the ceiling fan go ’round and ’round and he started getting playful.  He batted at my eye as I read my book.


This new kitty belongs to our Dave, who has never had his very own animal.

Dave’s birthday is the end of the month so I guess you could say this is an early present.

DSC_0907“A cat purring on your lap is more healing than any drug in the world, as the vibrations you are receiving are of pure love and contentment.”  ~St. Francis Agassi

“I only want one cat said no crazy cat lady ever.”

“I love him, Mom.”  ~Dave


the ring, billy cat, someone growing, the ring again, and a quote from sarah

I woke right up this morning thinking about the ring.  I fell asleep last night thinking about it, too.  I’d rather not blog about it.  Suffice it to say that I lost my Tiffany ring that Rich gave me for our anniversary a short 5 months ago.  I have looked all over the house, cleaning as I go.  If you ever want to get Spring Housecleaning done in February might I suggest losing something tiny and valuable in the house?  It’s been remarkable how much I’ve found but mostly dirt and dust, about 1,000 marbles and legos, bobby pins, small change, pony tail holders, an earring that I thought was gone forever, a set of keys, crayons, pens, and pencils, but no ring, and oddly nothing belonging to my poor husband.  Only crap that belongs to myself and the children.



This morning Sarah and I went to town.  I had to go to the Post Office, which I don’t like doing, and I was struck once again by the cheerful attitude of my little girlie who doesn’t mind going out into the cold with Mama on a constant basis.  She puts her hand in mine and we go. “Mom, remember.  Cars go FAST.” she says as we cross the street.  We bought a bag of books for 2 dollars at the thrift store.  We went to the grocery store and then home again to read them.


The cats are always inside now that it’s been so cold.  Billy amuses us all the time.  Today he decided to get a drink from the kitchen sink.






I began taking way too many pictures of Billy drinking water from the faucet.




Then something caught his eye and he forgot all about the water.



What could it be?  He stood up on tip toes.


And he pressed his orange head against the screen.  His tail was twitching.


Birds.  Lots and lots of birds.  They were politely taking a seed and flying right by the kitchen window in front of the orange cat.  He wanted so badly to go and catch one but I said no.

I poured my coffee and invited him to sit with me for a chat instead.


He had a hard time focusing after all the excitement of water and birds.


“I’d rather have bird.” he says.  “Also I would rather scratch you.” he confesses.


Grace is shrinking.  Either that or Davy is growing taller.  I’m not sure.


She is 15 and he is 12.  It’s an odd thing to see the little brother catch up in height.  His feet are already bigger.


This was my napping buddy yesterday.  The children had no school because it was (NOT A SNOW DAY –I know hard to believe!) President’s Day.  I read Seth a chapter of Henry and Ribsy, by Beverly Cleary.  And then we fell asleep back to back in the big bed.  He’s the apple of my eye.  Rich and I took him to his wrestling  tournament (states!) on Sunday and he placed 5th.

Back to the Ring Saga:


Last night, Rich pulled the washer and dryer out to check for the ring.  The boys were right there watching the entire time.

At dinner Rich prayed and thanked the Lord for the food.  Before he forgot, I interjected, “And please, dear Lord, help me find my ring,” prompting Grace to groan aloud, “PLEASE!”  “Amen” said Rich, and when we opened our eyes Jacob expected the ring to fall from the sky onto my plate.  If only!

David read this in his book last night:




This picture does a good job at illustrating what’s been going on in my house.  I’m the one in the long striped skirt.


In other news……..

Sarah watched “Finding Nemo” for the first time yesterday.  When I tucked her into bed she asked, “Mom, can I watch ‘My Me Me Mo’ again tomorrow?”