After a week, it was time to take dear Gracie back to college.  We didn’t have the adventures we thought we would have, but she was a comfort and a companion to me when her Dad was away and I was sick for days.  We headed back to Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon.



Always with a stop at Starbucks.  It’s a must for a road trip.


On Sunday morning I got dressed up and went to church.  I had forgotten a Bible so I took the Gideon one out of the hotel room and I will cherish it forever as I had already read it the night before, and that morning as I ate breakfast in my room by myself.

“No good tree bears bad fruit.”  (that’s me!)

“The good person out of the good treasure of her heart produces good.” (that’s me by the grace of God!)


“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be the daughter of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”

We hear a lot about the wrath of God, it was a “brought me to my knees” reminder that He is also good to the ungrateful and evil……….HE IS GOOD……


My dear daughter.  So proud of her.


Gracie between Mom 2 and Mom 1.  With moms like these she’s in a good place.  Always.


Joanna and I left church together and went to lunch at a new place.  It was busy, exciting, alive, and bright, AND THEY SERVED ON FIESTAWARE!

We had to wait for a table but that was okay….we just walked back to the car and sat for a while talking like two soul-sisters do.


My beautiful friend.  I love her so.


she had chai, I had matcha



The food was amazing!  Just the best.  And to sit and spend time together alone just the two of us was a gift from God.  I felt so very blessed.  And while we ate, I had a text from my dear mom wanting me to stop there on my way home….I felt even more wanted and loved….and texted Michael who said a quick and cheerful *YES* to helping me get the kids on the bus the next morning so I could stay a night at home*sweet*home with my parents.


She pointed out the church she went to as a child.

Back at her house, she gave me a kitchen-tour and showed me her amazing new pantry.


I got to linger over the pages of her Dawn-Journal.  Always inspired.


And then, we went to a favorite antique store where I found a dear Periwinkle disc pitcher to take home with me!


We were in the land of “The Office” and loved this quote which was up on the wall for our amusement.


So thankful for a Jo in my life.

It’s one of the blessings that I will be forever humbled and grateful for.



you are my good days.


The McDonalds in town was being renovated for months and months this winter and as soon as we could, Rich and I took the kids there to see what it was like after it was completed and open for business again.   While we were there, David took this photo of us.


David taking a nap with Sherlock.


Sarah and I made pies.  As usual, my homemade crust was disappointing.  I’ll never get it right.


I was sitting in the recliner when Grace got home!!  After a flurry of activity welcoming her back, with lots of hugs, I sat back down.  Soon I noticed that children were all around me so I had David (who was also sitting on the floor in front of me) take a photo.  My heart was full to bursting.


Weekend box of donuts.   Dave was so happy he ran around the house with them before settling down to enjoy.  I believe he ate three.


Saturday.  Sarah had a friend over for the morning.  I took this photo as they were all enjoying Youtube videos and were so cute.  David has my robe on.  He’s like my twin or something.  And you can tell Seth is happy to have his big sister home.


We wanted a photo with Caleb but he wouldn’t cooperate.


Michael and Grace, with sick Sarah in the background.  Yes, we are still going through the *end of winter sick-bug* here.  Currently, I am the last one recovering.  I’ve been sick for three days but thankfully last night’s sleep was much better and I feel I’m at the end of it now.




Grace and I went for a walk together on Monday.



Sarah being cute.


Grace in the morning with our beautiful Bagheera.


Sick Sarah with her things all around her. (the loaf of bread is a squishie)


I discovered Caleb sleeping in my bed one afternoon.


Sick mom with a big ten year old on her lap.  This was right before I pushed him off.  😉


Grace and I (and Walter) have been working on a puzzle.


RIch was away for two nights and one of those nights I stayed up watching The Office with Grace and Dave.  It was fun.


Then, I said I was going to bed so I went in my room.  But a cat followed me, so as I was chasing him out, Grace and Dave got in my bed before I could!  It was so funny.  I love my children SO SO much.  And I think they like their mom just a little bit, too.  🙂


Pretty Bags


Me, last night after a nice long long bath.


I had to share this photo of my brother.  He had a nice hair cut and beard trim and sent me a photo of himself.  This man is a constant comfort and friend to me, my dear brother Dave.


Every morning when I get up I am attacked by three excited cats waiting for their one and only can of catfood for the day.  But yesterday we ran out so I had to post this sign by their food bowl to let them know.


Last but not least, Rich got home safely last night and the dog Facetimed with Ethan at college.



You are Loved.

“you. you are my good days.”  ~f.d. soul




week in photos

Good morning from my house to yours.  It’s all of 21 degrees here but we are warm and cozy indoors, daughter Sarah is sitting snuggled next to me in the recliner as I type.

Rich has been gone all week on a business trip but came home in the night (around 2am) and because it was such a late flight he is able to work from home today.  He’s in the other room now, working on his laptop.  Our town’s McDonald’s had a makeover recently so we are planning on taking the kids there for lunch to check it out.  Yes, the children are home today from school for a Teacher’s Conference Day.  And the best part of all is our dear Grace and Brittnee are coming home for their March break tonight!  We’ll have Grace home with us for a week, which will be nice because Rich has another trip to go on.  She and I can get into all kinds of mischief together while he is away, which will probably entail a trip to the greenhouse and Barnes and Noble, that’s as wild as we get.

I wanted to share some photos that I’ve been taking throughout the week, some highlights of our days together, me and the children.  Every day I am struck by the relationships I have with each one of them.  There are stressful moments of course, but the closeness and love we share outweighs the hard times by far.


On Monday we had a snow day from school.  David started a fire and for dinner Seth roasted himself a hot dog.


One night when I was tucking in the children I took photos of them for Grace because Seth was reading one of her favorite childhood books……..


And Sarah was reading Eragon with Grace’s cat, Sammie.  In Grace’s bed.  (the girls share a room now and when Grace is home Sarah sleeps in the trundle-bed right next to Grace).


Funny photo of Bagheera sneaking up on Sherlock.  He loves being stealthy and pouncing on Sherlock.  Sherlock always reacts with hisses and a punishing paw.

My current read is Unorthodox, by Deborah Feldman.

Caleb on the big drum.   He’s so great, I kept my eyes on him the whole time, I notice as the fifth child he lives comfortably, knowing that “no one is paying attention to him” (not true, but when you’re #5 out of seven you do get a little more freedom as mom and dad are focusing on the older ones and the younger ones) so he’s relaxed and fun during the performances.  He was chewing gum and I even saw him blow a big bubble!!!  As a “good first-born” child I would NEVER have been chewing gum during a concert!!!  He talked with the kids next to him, laughed at the 5th grade band’s charmingly rustic and off-beat number, helped one of other boys keep track of his beat and music, and so on.   I was in awe of him.


I had left David home with Sarah and when I got back I found him all dressed up in a suit jacket working on his homework at the table.  Why?  Because he “felt cool” (better) wearing it.  I think he felt business-like while writing his school paper.  David was sick over the weekend and missed school on Tuesday but is all better now.


Sarah had been wanting to make cookies and we finally did it.  Oh boy were they DELICIOUS.  She carefully looked through the Taste of Home baking cookbook (from Hannah) and chose the recipe she wanted to try.


They were impossible to stay away from.  She and I made them together and she learned how to separate an egg.  We put the completed cookies all on a vintage yellow fiesta round platter.


My sister Amanda and I had been texting that morning and we both have this same shirt so we decided to wear them that day.  So I thought of her all day long.

IMG_7935I always write the date next to a new recipe and this time I let Sarah do it.  We divided this recipe in half because I didn’t want to spend 17 hours in the kitchen rolling out cookie dough.

We took a cookie in to David but found him asleep in my bed.  I was so amused by him I took a video.  He had carefully put relaxing music on my laptop and had it playing, like a lullaby, right next to him as he slept like a baby in my bed.  The kids all covet my down comforter, in fact, Sarah’s birthday is in May and she’s already requested one for her 9th birthday along with a hoverboard.  So funny.

Seth took a shower and when he was up there he got annoyed that Sarah’s horses were all over the floor so he took them out and cleaned up the shower.  He was so proud he would NOT stop talking about it and even went up to take pictures.  That evening I took him to Rite Aid so he could buy himself a new toothbrush (he wanted “one of his own”, which sort of confused me as there are about 25 toothbrushes around but we do seem to share everything in this family) some men’s body wash, and some men’s shampoo.  I have a little man!!  So charming to me.  I can’t complain about a boy who wants to be clean!


Still talking about the upstairs shower, he also thought about taking Sammie to school in his backpack.


“Just as I am, without one plea.”  And tired.

I did have fun yesterday with a friend, the two of us went to the mall together and walked over 2 miles and then shopped at Target.  We got Starbucks as we left and came back to my house where we worked on a puzzle and she read to me!!!!  It was relaxing and nice.


After she left, and I ran to the school to get Caleb, Seth and I finished the puzzle together. We laughed at Walter because he couldn’t fit in the box.


This puzzle is special because Joanna and her family put it together and then she gifted it to me to do.  So I thought of her the whole time we worked on it.  I love the birds.  It was a fun one to do.  Maybe now I’ll pass it along to Cassandra, or my Mom, or Amanda!


This was good and easy!!  I made it for dinner yesterday.


It’s a big big bowl of pasta goodness.  The kids all liked it, and so did I.


Last but not least, last night Caleb and I watched Spiderman: Homecoming together.  It was the most relaxed I’ve felt all week and I even slept for a little while, so cozy with my son and cat keeping me warm.

Happy Friday!!!




tiny music maker


Lately I’ve been feeling blessed by family in so many ways.

Look who came to visit Aunt Shanda today!


The three of us sisters sat and visited over tea.


And then I took the baby to the piano and showed her the keys and what they did.

She figured it out easily.

It was a beautiful moment, to see these tiny baby hands making baby music.




She absolutely loved it, and so did we, as we watched her delight.

We played a few hymns, including Jesus Loves Me.

Then we took her out to the livingroom and ate cookies (she couldn’t eat one so she had some milk) and then she fell into a sound and happy asleep.  She had an exciting morning.





We also put her hair in a pony tail.

Ah it’s such fun to play with real live baby dolls!

Thanks Amanda and Cassandra and Elena for visiting me today!