“For what is joy if it goes unrecorded, and what is love if it is not shared?”

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Good morning!  Hannah made Seth some joggers yesterday.

She is showing me things that I never dreamed my sewing machine could do.

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She used a pattern on one of her favorite online sources:  Patterns for Pirates.

This pattern is called Baby Bear Joggers and she sewed it using a nice thick knit for the fabric.

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Seth was so full of energy all afternoon wearing his new pants that it made Hannah laugh and say, “Well, at least we know he has a full range of motion in them!”

He wore them to bed and then wore them to school this morning.

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Yesterday was also homemade noodles day.

We went for two walks.

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We received a box full of good things as a surprise from Hannah’s mom; homemade jewelry, cookies, candy, and some gingerbread tea which we enjoyed before bed last night.

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PIG EARRINGS

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so far, these cookies are my favorite

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THE ULTIMATE COMFORT FOOD; homemade chicken and broth with noodles, served over homemade mashed potatoes.

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Hannah began making a dress for Grace, a beautiful red and cream lace dress; in which Grace will be sure to look like a Valentine in February.

When Hannah was done sewing for the day, she neatly covered everything up with a tablecloth so the cats wouldn’t eat thread or shred the patterns.

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Deep down inside, Sherlock really believes she has thoughtfully made him a bed.

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This morning is quiet; the children have gone to school and Hannah is getting dressed while I blog, drink tea, and look out the window with my cat.

*****

“For what is joy if it goes unrecorded, and what is love if it is not shared?”  Jennifer Worth
~quote from an episode of Call the Midwife which we watched last night with our gingerbread tea.

christmas present

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“Come in, — come in! and know me better, man! I am the Ghost of Christmas Present. Look upon me! You have never seen the like of me before!”

I’m going to be completely honest with you, by yesterday evening I was filled with glee because I was glad Christmas was over….and by “Christmas” I mean all the buying of gifts, wrapping, baking, cleaning, and so on.  I really wish Santa WAS real, it would save me a lot of work.  It’s fun and all, but only to a certain extent, and then the stress kicks in and you start to wonder if the gifts are okay and if they will be received with gladness and if the children will be healthy and then it becomes your time of the month on top of it all, which explains why you were grumpy that one night when the kids had friends over and it was all you could do not to go in your room and shut the door because your head felt as if it would explode…….

But then your husband helps you find the presents in all the secret hiding spots and tells you numerous times that you did a great job and gives you little kisses and it’s Christmas Eve and the boys keep trying to get up without ever even going to sleep and you say over and over to yourself in that still small voice, “remember these moments”…….because you know even if you do at this moment wish things were a little quieter– someday you just might wish things were back to chaotic for an hour or two.  Maybe.

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On Christmas Eve we crave cinnamon rolls and thanks to my friend April we also made orange rolls for the first time and boy were they heavenly.

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I totally fell in love with The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  I’ve seen the movie through the years and have read the book a few times but this year I became a true and devoted fan of the story.  It’s so rich and beautiful.  It has everything; loss, darkness, greed, selfishness, ghosts, hauntings, music, bitter cold, snow, old city life, memorable characters, lessons learned, truth, love, nostalgia, joy, smiles, laughter, and a HAPPY ENDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So I read the book again, which of course is the very best way to experience the story, and then watched two of the movies and I watched them with as much full attention as I could (without my phone next to me).

And lest you think my opening confession was rather Scrooge-like, let me clarify that I wholeheartedly love Christmas for what it truly is supposed to be; giving and receiving, yes, but also heart and soul, togetherness, beauty, family and friends.  Those are the qualities of Christmas that I love the most, & I know you do, too.

“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.”

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“He was consious of a thousand odours floating in the air, each one connected with a thousand thoughts, and hopes, and joys, and cares, long, long, forgotten.”

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“I have always thought of Christmastime, when it has come round…as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

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(Caleb was feeling under the weather and buried himself in blankets and pillows as he watched TV) soooo cute

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Ethan is home from college and my heart is content to have all the children with us again.

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Abundance.

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waking up the sleepy heads

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We unwrapped all the presents and then got ready for Church.

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Seth had a candy cane in his mouth and Ethan had crest white strips on his teeth.  I didn’t know this until on the way to church when I had time to study the photos and ask questions.

I thought Sarah’s Christmas hair was adorable.  I put it in two pigtails, pulled the hair through half way, and then pinned on gold bows.  She of course, hated it, but I told her too bad.  And with a compromise, she didn’t have to wear a fancy dress.

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My camera heart gravitates toward the child who doesn’t get to attend church with us during the school year anymore….it was so nice to see him in the pew as I looked over at my sons in a row.

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Rich and Grace both had small parts in the service so they sat in front.  To be honest, I made Rich come back to sit with me as his part wasn’t until almost the end of the service and I didn’t want to sit there alone without my husband the whole time.

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Caleb got a hug…….

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Sarah found a listening ear…………

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Grace read from Luke chapter 2……….

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Best friends and brothers in Christ.

(Michael took a photo of the family for me but I’m not going to post it until next month (year) because I never sent out Christmas cards, therefore I am sending out New Years cards with a family photo and I don’t want to show anyone the picture yet or it will be boring to send out in the mail).

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After church I made a ham dinner and then was filled with the feeling that all was accomplished and I could rest.  It was a most blessed evening of being so very relaxed with all the children around us.

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I’m in the midst of the the book on top, which is something I bought a few years ago but just got around to reading.  It is very very good (high quality writing).  Sigrid Undset also wrote Kirsten Lavransdatter which is an amazing book.  The rest of the titles are from my husband based on my explicit instructions.

How thankful I am through it all, for the blessings of our life, the warmth, the joy, the endless little surprises from living with children, and for most of all, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the eternal life He has given.  God is so good and we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses that prove all of what He truly means to us.  I’m so glad He loves us just the way we are.

Merry Christmas!

“I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!”

“His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.”

PS, Penny, I wrote this post for you.  (because you encouraged me).  xoxoxo loves.

take no thought for the morrow

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Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…….

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?  Matthew 6:26

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Thank you for the egg.

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Thank you for stopping to say hello.

*****

Samantha was covered in glittering dusty dirt!  Have you ever seen a cat roll around in dry dirt puddles?  It’s very cute.  I watched her walk in the sunshine after a nice roll-around, she was twinkling and sparkling proudly….nothing like a good dust bath.

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Today is a very important day.  Today I figured out how to shoot sun stars!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I really like listening to podcasts while I’m walking.  (I walk daily) And one of the ones I listen to is about hobby landscape photography.  The hosts were chatting about sunstars the other day and I was like, “wow, that’s a thing!” and looked up more information online.  It seemed rather straight forward and although the effect is much better during *the golden hours*, I was way too impatient to wait until then.

I put the f-stop to 18 and partially blocked the sun behind a tree and held my breathe.

CLICK.

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It worked!

I know all you professional photographers out there are laughing but this was such fun.

Eventually, I was seeing stars myself!  Rather blinded by the sun, you see.

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This one was ridiculous.  I decided to look for other things to “shoot”.  Like this old rose:

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And this squirrel:

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running away from me like I was something out of his nightmares.  SO insulting.

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It has an acorn in his mouth.  I do so like to crunch acorns under my feet as I walk, so satisfying.

I carried two home in my pocket, along with a pinecone.  I’m giving them to Joanna when I see her on SATURDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Life is just way too exciting.

 

Take no thought for the morrow, for the time to come. Be not anxious for the future, how you shall live next year, or when you are old, or what you shall leave behind you. As we must not boast of tomorrow, so we must not care for to-morrow, or the events of it. God has given us life, and has given us the body. And what can he not do for us, who did that?  Matthew Henry

baked beans recipe (yum)

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The sun was almost down behind the house, and in front of us like a living piece of art was a dusky early evening.  How many times have I stopped what I was doing in the house to run out on the porch just for a moment; to soak in the beauty, breath the fresh air, cool my busy mind?  Called the children to come and see the pretty sky?  So many times that now sometimes they do it, too.

“Mom, come look!”

s h a r e d  J O Y  i s  a  d o u b l e   J O Y

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The darkest of blues and a world washed clean.

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A year ago I put together a recipe file of all the baked bean recipes I could find in my cookbook collection.  I tried out a few of the recipes and then lost interest in beans for another year.  It is interesting to me how we become seasonally predictable.  All of a sudden I’m getting the urge to bake beans again–exactly a year later.

I selected the next recipe to try and for this recipe, I needed dark rum.  Rich and I drove downtown on Saturday to get some while the beans were soaking on the stovetop and the children played.  I sat in the truck while he ran into the liquor store for a nice bottle of rum.  Then we went downtown for coffee and a walk.

*****

We ate dinner together around the table at the end of the day.  A big pot of homemade baked beans and fresh bread from Price Chopper.  The children all ate a plate of beans, so piping hot that they had to spread them all around their plates to cool faster.  They all liked them and several of us had seconds. It is a contented feeling to make such simple foods and have them enjoyed.

Rich and Jacob go to the gym three times a week and Rich told me that Jacob should probably not eat beans the night before, ever again.  Jacob replied, “It doesn’t matter what I eat, it’s going to happen.”

I thank my Aunt Mary for this recipe, because it came from a wonderful cookbook that she gave to me years ago as a bridal shower gift.  I’ve studied and used it so much that it’s falling apart now.  Every recipe I’ve made out of this cookbook has been extra delicious.

Molasses and Rum Baked Beans

1 pound dry navy beans or dry great northern beans
1/4 pound bacon (six slices) or salt pork, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup molasses or maple syrup (we used maple syrup)
1/2 cup catsup
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. pepper

Rince beans.  In a 4 1/2 quart dutch oven combine beans and 8 cups cold water.  (I also added a bay leaf).  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Cover and let stand 1 hour.  Drain and rinse beans.

In the same pan mix beans and 8 cups fresh cold water.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer about 1 hour and 15 minutes or till tender.  Drain beans, reserving hot liquid.  Transfer beans to a 2 1/2 quart casserole or bean pot.

In a medium saucepan or large skillet, cook bacon or salt pork till fat begins to accumulate.  Add onion and garlic.  cook and stir over medium heat till onion is tender but not brown.  Stir onion mixture into beans along with 1/2 cup of the reserved bean liquid, molasses or maple syrup, catsup, dark rum, brown sugar, dry mustard, salt, ground ginger, and pepper.

Bake, covered, in a 300 degree oven about 2 and a half hours or to desired consistency, stirring occasionally.  If necessary, add additional reserved bean liquid.  Makes 10-12 servings.

NOTES:  I doubled this recipe.  I used a teaspoon of sandwich mustard rather than dry.  It took my beans much longer to bake.  Plan on this recipe taking an entire day from morning to night.  There is nothing worse than under cooked baked beans.  When done, the beans should be super soft and everything else in the pot should be melted together.  Add liquid as they bake so there is sauce.  Very delicious with bread and butter and cold glasses of cider.

recipe source:  Stay for Supper (Country Home) Cookbook

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photos from walk yesterday, which was a warm fall day

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the leaves I brought home with me

*******

“….we must never pretend that things are better than they are-but I do want us to look beneath all that is difficult and see the miracle God has wrought in our hearts.  I want us to see that he has placed powerful urges to do good in the deepest recesses of our regenerated hearts.  That’s what the New Covenant is all about.  Something wonderful and beautiful and resilient is within us that no abuse, rejection, or failure can ever destroy.  I want us to relate to one another, not as moralist to sinner or therapist to patient, but as saint to saint, father to child, friend to friend, as true lovers, with the confidence that we can help each other believe that, by the grace of God, there is something good beneath the mess.”
Larry Crabb

 

thankful, so very very thankful

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These mashed potatoes are soooooooooo good!

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I’m still using my Grandma’s potato masher.

fiesta potholders
martha stewart pot

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The potatoes were a snack for these fine young men.  (By the way, I took all these photos last week but didn’t post them yet).  Ethan had a week home from college.

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Rich was away on a business trip for five days.  I took this picture of the boys for him after their football practice….as you can see, Seth is full of energy STILL!

This morning he was showing me how his shorts didn’t stay up and I said, “Dressing you is like trying to dress a broom stick.” and he said, “That’s because I’m skinny.”

He also said, “When I grow up I’m not going to get married so I can still live with you.”  “You don’t have to get married but you could still have your own place,” I replied.  “I’ll be your neighvor.” he said.  (exactly how he pronounced it)

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WHAT???  All I did was walk out the front door when I discovered this very very cool green insect on the dresser on the porch.  Isn’t it amazing?

You can make discoveries at any time and any place.  Keep your eyes open.

I want to draw this bug.  Wouldn’t it be fun to draw this bug?

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I have a fascination with the Salem Witch Trials but this book was disappointingly difficult to read.  It put me to sleep every evening.  I finally put it down and read reviews on amazon — gratified to see the majority of them felt the same as I did.  I bought this book at Costco and will be returning it.

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The Trouble with Magic, by Ruth Chew (my latest read to Sarah book)
Little Women
The Little’s Surprise Party
Young Amelia Earhart
Tales of Peter Rabbit and his Friends
Heidi (full of illustrations)
Art book
Charlie Brown book

I love having books everywhere I turn here.

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Sarah reading to Mama.

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Seth reading to Mama (with Sarah next to us).

Little Bear books are the best.  You know they make me tear up?  Heartwarming stories.  And then she wrote Hunger Games, can you believe that?  (I did read Hunger Games and enjoyed it but got bored with the rest of the series, haven’t seen the movies.)

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Dress up

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Another homegrown pumpkin (we had four)

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Kids are the best

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a bunny bee and soft flower petals

(isn’t it so cute?)

To be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars; to be satisfied with your possessions, but not contented with yourself until you have made the best of the them; to despise nothing in the world except falsehood and meanness, and to fear nothing except cowardice; to be governed by your admirations rather than by your disgusts;  to covet nothing that is your neighbor’s except his kindness of heart and gentleness of manners; to think seldom of your enemies, often of your friends and every day of Christ; and to spend as much time as you can with body and with spirit, in God’s out-of-doors–these are the little guide-posts on the foot-path of peace.  

Henry Van Dyke.

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((David caught a snake.))  Yesterday Michael and Logan walked to our house to visit and said they rescued a snake from the road, it’s tail was run over so they put the hurt snake in the woods.  I was so happy with them.

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Our cats love sleeping in laundry baskets.

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DAVID!!!!  getting so tall and changing daily…..drinking that yummy raw milk does wonders.  He’s been on the Rip Stick (see it behind him) a lot lately.  He loves to go to football practice with his brothers and while they are on the fields, he is on the parking lot with the rip stick (for 2 hours!).  Last night he was hungry and made himself a little pot of rice for a bedtime snack.  He’s the best at making rice and has a scientific precise way of making it.  He’s also been eating tortilla chips and salsa on a constant basis.  It always amuses me to see the kids to through “their favorite snack” stages.  I remember when Grace would eat a can of corn every day.

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In a weak moment, I let Parker take a nap next to me.

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GLOWING GLOWING GLOWING…….the outdoors is simply dazzling.

“Early in the morning, my song shall rise to Thee.”

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Ethan and Tessa making pasta for dinner.

Is there anything more cozy than being outside and looking at the bright windows of YOUR house, with YOUR family inside???

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Last night Seth looked back at me as he was going downstairs to bed and said, “Mom in the morning I want eggs for breakfast,” and he pointed his finger at me like Gary George, and continued, “Fried.  Two.”  Then, a thumbs up.  I was smiling, “Okay Seth!”  So this morning I put a healthy amount of butter in a cast iron pan and fried him up two eggs, served with whole wheat toast.

He said to me, he said to me with his mouth full, “This is a good breakfast, mom.”

my new garbage disposal

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“There is often more wisdom to be found at the edges of life than in its middle.  Life-threatening illness may shuffle our values like a deck of cards.  Sometimes a card that has been on the bottom of the deck for most of our lives turns out to be the top card, the thing that really matters.  Having watched people sort their cards and play their hands in the presence of death for many years, I would say that rarely is the top card perfection, or possessions, or even pride.

“Most often the top card is love.”

My Grandfather’s Blessings, by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.

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Good morning, friends.

When I first woke up this morning, I sat in my bed with a cup of hot coffee and listened to the wind.  It was a lovely autumn wind, yellow leaves were flying past the windows.  Wind chimes were loud enough to hear and their music was saying, “It’s a windy morning!”

It has died down some, and the rain of yesterday is past, leaving clean fresh air and a brilliant blue sky.  It’s hardly 50 degrees and feels invigorating but chilly.

I’m eating lunch as I type; vegetable soup.

The children are home from school for Columbus Day.  Sarah Joy had a dentist appointment at 9, which I was not looking forward to after her year of kidney stone adventures.  She was so sweet and brave until the last when the tears came…..she was worried that the dentist would pull her loose tooth out right then and there.  The dental hygienist was sweet and understanding with Sarah.  As a mom, that meant the world to me.

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On Saturday we spent the entire day at the football field.  Rich, myself, Sarah, Seth, and Caleb.

Rich officiated Seth’s game.  Seth made several good plays as a quarter back (at his level, the boys take turns trying different positions).  I was able to get this series of photos showing an impressive pass to his teammate, who did a great job at catching the ball.

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Seth with the ball……

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…..ball in the air……

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…..with a catch and first down!   Not bad for 6 and 7 year olds!

We had time to leave and eat dinner before Caleb’s game, which they won brilliantly.

It was raining on and off the whole day and we were soooooo ready to be home afterwards.

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I love this little girl with all my heart.

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And this one, too.  Rich took Grace with him to go get a new garbage disposal.

The other day I was tired and grumpy but trying very hard to not say anything.  Zak was here and he played a prank on Jacob in the kitchen.  Jacob had left his cup of coffee on the counter while he went to the bathroom, and while he was gone, Zak put coins and butter in his coffee.  I was in the kitchen, working, saw everything, and became annoyed.  Jacob came out and dumped his coffee down the drain, and into the garbage disposal went the coins.  I continued to be annoyed and I said to Jacob, “YOU put your hand down there and get the money out.”  I assumed he did and the next day when I used the disposal it of course made (along with me) a terrible noise of distress and woe.  I instantly knew what had happened and was mad this time.  I put my hand down there and retrieved two almost unrecognizable pennies.  I got the broom and used the end of the handle to try to get the disposal moving again, but no.  I sent Jacob a text saying *no friends this week* (it was last week now) and he was still saying things like “It wasn’t me, it was Zak”…. like I cared WHO it was, which I did not—as long as I was not the one to have to deal with the messes of teenagers.  “It was only one penny” they insisted.  Rich was alway on a business trip and now my garbage disposal wasn’t working at all.  As a homemaker, this was very unsettling.  I called the plumber and he fixed several things (like a drippy faucet in the bathroom) but said he would have to get to the disposal in a few weeks.  When Rich had time to look at it on Sunday, he discovered a QUARTER stuck so tightly in the disposal that there was nothing to be done but buy a new one.  Thankfully, the disposal was old anyway and honestly needed to be replaced or I would still be annoyed at this moment.  (I am over it and Can Now Laugh).

Rich and Grace came home with a garbage disposal so quiet I don’t believe it’s even working because I’m used to my old one that was as loud as a chainsaw and dripped gray water into a bowl under the sink each time I used it.

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While they were out shopping for the disposal, I had asked Ethan *which would he rather take back to college with him, brownies or cookies* and he picked cookies and said, “Thanks Mom” which completely melted my heart.  He kept coming in the kitchen to eat the dough.  My kitchen was a mess because the disposal wasn’t working.  True!  Really!  🙂

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I made the best chocolate chip cookies ever and even snuck in some wheat flour.  I pressed pumpkin seeds on top of a dozen (kids won’t eat them, of course).  Ethan took about a dozen with him to school.

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This is an easy snack for the kids….buy a loaf of garlic bread at the store and bake it according to the package directions.  Then, open up the loaf and put some sauce, cheese, and dried basil and bake it again until it’s done.  Glorified french bread pizza.

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I watched David play the piano.

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And noticed Gentleman Gray sleeping in an odd place with his leg sticking out.  🙂

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We ended up sitting on the floor in the corner together, petting the cat.

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Jacob made the trip to Vermont yesterday with his brother.  They took Grace and Tessa along, and Zak, too.  Although it was sad to have to say goodbye to Ethan again, I heard this morning that they had a very nice time together on their little road trip, listening to music and stopping for coffee and a buffet for dinner.

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The view from the porch yesterday evening was stunning.

Love.

“Blessing the life in someone usually requires a deep respect for their uniqueness, an openness to allowing them to uncover who they are rather than shaping them into who we want or need them to be.  Innately, blessing life confers a greater freedom on those we bless.”  ~Rachel N. Ramen, M.D. 

sixty years ago and more

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My mom read the last blog post and said maybe Jean’s recipes were still at the Thrift store so naturally I went down there this morning to see if they were.  I said to myself, “Also, if there are anymore of those scrapbooks I will buy them.”  There were no recipes anywhere and I came away with 20 or so scrapbooks and two books for 3 dollars.  I felt rather like I was getting away with something.  These books are a treasure trove of history.

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I sat on the porch for a long time this morning, quietly turning the pages and only getting through two of them.  They are delightfully engrossing.

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“Afghans watch television at an American exhibit in Kabul.”

Look at their eyes.

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Jean was a teacher.  And as of the scrapbooks that I have, she was not married.  There aren’t any personal things about her in the books but some cards and little notes given to her by friends and/or acquaintances, and a couple small certificates.  There are no personal opinions or notes.  The only key to her personality are the clipping she saved.  Things like politics, weather, historical sights, antique furniture, poems, quotes, comics, bible verses or prayers, and animal photos.  “You can know a lot about a person by the things they collect.”

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“the information that he had been stricken by what is commonly called a stroke was camouflaged in medical double talk.”  

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“Grant us the grace of perspective as we listen to the centuries rather than to the hours.”

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He’s so cute, he’s the same age as my Seth!!!  So adorable.

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“Photographing Animals is a Fascinating Hobby” I can agree to that.

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“The duck has established an imaginary boundary line and every time Frank crosses it, the duck jumps in front of him and quacks loudly until the child turns back.”

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“There is nothing too little for so little a creature as man.  It is by studying little things that we attain the great knowledge of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible.”

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“Mrs. John F Kennedy moving from the White House with her two children today.”

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“We are tired of television and of staring stupidly into the screen.”

“We aim to get together and have some fun instead.”

******

I stared at the date on the calendar when I came back inside.  To my surprise, it was 2016.

Have you ever had that feeling before?

Jean’s scraps

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As I mentioned in the last blog post, I had found some old scrapbooks belonging to an unknown woman named Jean at the local thrift store.  They are full of scrappy treasures…here are a few samples from just one of them:

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This made me cry a little.

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The Music Man

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Ted Williams

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Royalty gets around

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Abraham Lincoln

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“Delightful Hysteria” July 31, 1960

There are quite a few newspaper clips on JFK, including his death in a later scrapbook.

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Caroline Kennedy trying to get away….naughty, naughty!  😉

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The only thing I was surprised about was the lack of recipes.  Out of all eight scrapbooks there were a total of 0 recipes and nothing about food.

I bet she was a very slender woman.

easter baked beans

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“Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” 1 Timothy 1:2

“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5

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My soul, admire the boundless love of God to thee and others of the human race.
Worms are bought with the blood of the Son of the Highest! Dust and ashes
redeemed with a price far above silver and gold!  ~Charles Spurgeon

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“I will not glory, even in my orthodoxy, for even that can be a snare if I make a god of it… Let us rejoice in Him in all His fulness and in Him alone.”  Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones

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“It is grace at the beginning, and grace at the end. So that when you and I come to lie upon our death beds, the one thing that should comfort and help and strengthen us there is the thing that helped us in the beginning. Not what we have been, not what we have done, but the Grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. The Christian life starts with grace, it must continue with grace, it ends with grace. Grace wondrous grace. By the grace of God I am what I am. Yet not I, but the Grace of God which was with me.”
– Martyn Lloyd-Jones

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Good day to you, friends!  It has been a lovely week at our place, although there is a sickness going around.  I’ve been sick since Tuesday but am feeling better although tired out.  Grace was home with me yesterday, and it was cozy indeed.

There is no school today for the children.  Ethan drove to the mall with Dave, Grace, and Emily (his girlfriend’s sister).  Rich and Jacob are at work.  Caleb, Seth, and Sarah are home with me and playing together.

Jacob’s girlfriend Emily was taking care of a duck yesterday.  While she was at school, she had Jacob bring it over to our house so he could watch it.  Of course we all fell in love with the duck.

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And Grace wanted to keep it.  She began researching but what I told her was true; you really shouldn’t keep one duck.  It would be a very lonely duck.

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So after a visit and much quacking, it went to be adopted by a family of ducks.

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Easter Baked Beans

(way back in October I wrote about my intention to try all sorts of baked bean recipes.  Well, I finally got to recipe #2 and it was delicious)

First I’ll give you the recipe and then I’ll tell you everything I did differently.  🙂

Navy Bean and Apple Casserole

1 lb. dried navy beans, 2 cups
6 cups cold water
1 tsp salt
3 large tart apples pared and sliced
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 lb. salt pork, sliced

Wash beans and turn into a 3 quart saucepan.  Add the water and salt, heat to boiling, and simmer gently, covered, about 2 hours.  Drain, saving cooking liquid.  Arrange beans and apple slices in alternate layers in a greased casserole, sprinkling sugar over each layer.  Pour in 2 cups of the cooking liquid and top with slices of salt pork.  Bake, covered, in a very slow oven (250 degrees) for about 2 and a half hours, or until beans are light brown and thoroughly cooked.  If they become dry in cooking, add more cooking liquid or hot water.  There should be enough liquid on the beans to make a gravy-like sauce over them.  5-7 servings.

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I saved out 2 cups of the cooked beans to use in a chili recipe.  I peeled and diced the apples and only used 2 apples because of my reduction of the amount of beans.  I sprinkled onion powder and cinnamon on the beans (about 1/8 of a tsp each).  I used bacon instead of salt pork (what is salt pork???) and I diced it instead of keeping it in slices.  It took longer for mine to bake, in fact, I let them go on for about 6 hours (I don’t know why it took so long, maybe my oven temps are off?).  I used a can of chicken broth that I had leftover in the fridge for cooking liquid.  I took the foil off for the last hour so they would thicken up and brown.  Adding cinnamon made them perfect–the bacon and apple basically melted into the beans making a wonderful flavor.  We all liked them, and Sarah had three bowls full.  They would go well with a ham dinner, which is why I have renamed this recipe “Easter Baked Beans”.

as much as it is possible

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“Just to be tender, just to be true
Just to be glad the whole day through,

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Just to be merciful, just to be mild,
Just to be trustful as a child;

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Just to be gentle and kind and sweet,
Just to be helpful with willing feet,

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Just to be cheery when things go wrong,

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Just to drive sadness away with song,

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Whether the hour is dark or bright,

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Just to be loyal to God and right,

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Just to believe that God knows best,

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Just in his promises ever to rest

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Just to let love be our daily key,

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That is God’s will for you and for me.”
Heart Throbs

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As much as it is possible, live in peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18

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