a teeny bit of home this morning

In a little yellow house in Connecticut, there is a family.  And in this family is a mom and a dad, along with a big sister, a big brother, a regular brother, a little brother, and a little sister.

(((There are also two bigger brothers but they are far far away, in Vermont.)))

Snow is blizzardly blowing around the house today, filling the darkened air with bits of white.

The dear dad is busy working from home.

Hi, I’m the mom.  And I literally just suggested to Grace and David to  “Go put together a pretzel.”

Then, Caleb came upstairs to tattle on Seth.

So I bought them a new movie (via a smart TV and amazon prime) to watch and now I’m in my room to do a quick blog and then go make lunch and gallons of popcorn……….

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Grace has been in this same spot all morning, blissfully reading, napping, looking at her phone, and petting the cat.  “I looooove himmmmmm” she purrs.

I decided to pick up the camera and take some photos but be aware that everywhere I look is life abundant in the form of stuff everywhere…not mess, but life….papers, coloring books, crayons, puzzles, stuffed animals, boots and shoes, dishes left out, a baseball glove or two or three, jackets, laundry to be folded, cereal boxes left out, a sock here and there, the smell of bacon, etc.

It’s all good!  It’s FAMILY!

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They play together all the time and I most-of-the-time love it.  It’s constant laughing, problems, trying not to involve mom when working things out, and play.

(the dog yawns when he’s embarrassed and/or shy))

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((The dog was anxious about Seth getting too close.))

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Then, I sent the kids back about 7 feet and ((the dog was happy to have been released.))

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Seth     Caleb     Sarah

8     11     6

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I took a photo of him through the glass door.  He was on a conference call.  (those arms)

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11:45 and look who just got up.  He told me that last night after everyone went to bed he made a frozen pizza and “ate the whole thing.”  To which I replied, “Sodium city” and he said, “Yeah.”

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I guess it was the duct tape.

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A Happy SNOWY Tuesday from me to you.

you are loved

“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou

sad cat

“Mom, my cat is sad,” David told me on Monday night.

It was the next day before I had the chance to stop and consider the cat.  David had also said, “If my cat dies, I die.” so I knew I had to make sure everybody was okay.  After all, it’s my job to keep everyone as alive and healthy as possible.

“Hmmmmmm”, I thought as I opened the front door and let the sad cat outside,  “For heaven’s sake I think I see a lump on his shoulder.”  I bent down and gently felt around in his fur.  Sure enough, he had a large lump and gave up a sad little meow of protest.

I called the vet and made an appointment for 9:30 Wednesday morning.

This was already after getting the children off to school, laundry, cleaning, and so forth.

I showered and dressed and then did “the old heave ho ” to get up into the storage space under the addition to locate the cat carrier.  Then  went back upstairs, found the cat and attempted to put him inside it.  We’ve all seen videos of people trying to put cats into things and the cats spreading out all four of their limbs and leaning out instead of agreeably going in.  It was kind of funny the first time but I eventually was able to zip him up.

I took the carrier and my purse out to the car and away we went, driving down the road.  The carrier was in the front seat next to me and moving around as Gentleman Gray yowled in a very unnatural voice every 5 seconds.  He pressed his head into every nook and cranny of the carrier until he found The Old Hole.  The old hole had been repaired with masking tape years ago but this cat was stronger than masking tape and out popped his head and then the rest of him.

I was driving so there was nothing I could do but keep my eyes on the road and hope the cat would keep control of his bowels.  (he had an accident once in Jacob’s car)  Gentleman Gray experiences an unusual amount of stress inside of cars but it seemed to help him be free from his carrier.  He went in and out of my lap and looked out the windows.

I arrived at the vet 15 minutes early which is oh so typical of me.  I am very conscientious about being on time.  In this instance it proved to be a blessing, as I had time to dash into the hardware store which was right next door to the vet.  I went inside and asked where the duct tape was and found a pair of little scissors, too.

I went back to my car and almost threw my hip out trying to get into it because the side boards didn’t come down so I could step up.  I realized later on that Gentleman Gray had pressed the button to disengage them.

I made the necessary repairs to the cat carrier and then attempted to put the cat back inside of it, again with the spreading of limbs, claws, meows, and super cat strength.  But I won.

I took him inside.  They were able to get us right into a room, where the vet promptly took a look at him and checked his temperature.  She immedietly thought “absess” which is what I was secretly thinking it was, myself.  (proudly)  She said that since he goes outdoors it was probably from a cat bite from another cat that became infected.  She and her assistant gently restrained Gentleman Gray and did a quick but careful shave over his lump.  Then she inserted a needle and pulled out some rather sick looking fluid.  She took out the needle and gave him three shots in the hind quarters; rabies booster, distemper booster, and a powerful antibiotic.  She retrieved another syringe “just for fun” and did one more attempt at draining as much of the pus as possible.  Meanwhile, I took a few pictures because I knew the children would enjoy the story later on.  I guess I was having fun, too.

I had to buy more special cat food for our other cat (Sherlock) who has urinary problems and then away I went, skipping down the sidewalk, 320 dollars out of pocket and a cat carrier in my hand moving around like there was a wild animal inside of it.  (He rolled it across the floor while I paid the bill.)

But the value our dear pets give to us in return is priceless.  That’s what I said to my husband when he made a few sarcastic comments about another trip to the vet for a common cat.  (I love you, Rich!)

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Oblivious sad cat, right before I picked him up to begin our adventure together.

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By the time we arrived at our destination, he had busted through an Old Hole in the cat carrier.  The lump is visable in this picture.

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“I wonder if I could also bust through this old window?”

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Gentleman Gray getting shaved.

When I showed 8 year old Seth the photo, he studied it and then said, “I like that guy.”

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She got as much out as she could and then told me that it might open up at home eventually and finish draining.  Or it could just go down on its own and heal from the antibiotics, which would last for 2 weeks in his system.  Please oh please let it be the latter.

She said we could put warm compresses on it.  (so far he has had no warm compresses)

He did have a fever, by the way.  Pooooooooor kitty.  He was sad after all.

I put him in the back of the car for the ride home so I could have some peace and quiet.  When we arrived I opened up the back and let him out.  In the video you can see the repaired carrier and all the “special food”.

He said thank you, did you see that?  *heartmelts*

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We came inside the house and Sherlock came over to console his friend.  He knew by sniffing him just where he had been.

Gentleman spent the rest of the day and night sleeping but this morning I found him playing nicely with a little red bead on the floor and then later on I noticed him spending a lot of time grooming himself so I knew he was perking up.

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ah, adventures.

“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.

without even trying

The blog is a spiritual practice of sorts; because with it, I can intentionally go back through the moments of daily living, remember and savor them, and press on with gratitude.

Picking up the camera creates a feeling of expectation that there will be an image to record.  An image just for me, a moment that speaks to my heart as a woman, a child of God, a homemaker, or a mother.

Each time I download, edit, study, is an opportunity to say “thank you”.

If other people happen to read it, enjoy, relate and want to be friends; that’s the icing on the cake!

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The kitchen is where I go when I want a safe place….cooking shows are what I watch when all of life seems painfully overwhelming.  Eating and drinking is something I never take for granted.  To eat food without discomfort in the mouth or stomach; what a reason to praise!  I love cooking and baking and serving.  (cleaning up, not so much; only because my kitchen NEVER stays clean, it’s too busy).

I made kuchen on Saturday morning (we were having a snow day).  It was a buttery yeast dough, pressed into a pie plate and left to rise.  Then, a sprinkling of fruit and a topping of sugar mixed with egg, cinnamon, and cream.  Baked in the oven, and eaten with whipped cream.

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It was gone in no time at all.

I want to make it a few more times before I post a recipe because I made it according to the cookbook but want to tweak it a tad before I am satisfied.  Although, even as it was, it was super delicious and my husband said over and over that it was good (and he’s not a sweets type of guy).

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I gave David a photography lesson on taking pictures of cats that don’t want to look at you.  “shake a plastic bag up by the camera”….. nice shot, Dave!

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“Mom, can I make one of those orange things that smell like pine?” asked Seth.

It took me a little bit of questioning before I figured out that he was thinking of pushing cloves into an orange, and it was so adorable and random that of course I right away said yes and jumped off the couch to find my jar of cloves.

meanwhile, outside the snow was falling, falling

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And Seth was in a laundry basket, working on his orange while the rest of us watched a live steam of Ethan’s wrestling tournament on the internet…….

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The other funny thing Seth needed on Saturday was iced tea.  Nothing would make him happier than some iced tea….so I got out my Aunt Colleen’s recipe and made it.  I tend to think that cravings have a purpose and for the most part, should be satisfied.  He also requested that he drink it “from that white owl mug”.  As you wish, little prince.

And lest you think I spoil him, I did NOT let him stay home from school today even though he did his very best to try to convince me he was in agony with a stomach ache.

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Sarah was asking her Dad all that snowy day if she could go outside with him as he plowed the driveway.  The next morning, bright and early, her wish came true!  It was adorable.

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“How did you know I was taking your picture through the window?”

“I saw the light on your camera!”

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On Sunday, we traveled about an hour to take Seth, Caleb, and David to their first wrestling meet of the season.  On the way there, I told this long story about the unsatisfactory fiction book I had finished (it was mixed in with “pulitzer prize fiction” search on amazon!! and it was a piece of garbage!) UGH.  I told him the whole story very animately and how ridiculous it was and when I was done Sarah piped up from the back seat and asked if the name of it was If God is Good.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAT?

I am constantly thrown off kilter by my children.  How on EARTH would she think such a thing??

“Because I saw that book on the coffee table.”

“OH.  No, Sarah, THAT book is really really good.  The book I was talking about was called The Life we Bury.”

And I thought to myself, “She notices stuff I didn’t realize she noticed.  Nothing gets by her.”

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Now that’s some flower!  I’ve had the grandest time watching this Christmas Cactus grow an itty bitty bud to a big, strong blossom.

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“What’s this, Sarah?”

“My New Years Resolution.”

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So it was pretty funny that the chapter we read this morning was about two little girls who decide to make other people happy.

The housekeeper said it would make her happy if they left the kitchen so she could scrub the floor.

The Mama said she was already happy.  But they wanted to make her happier.  “Just keep being my good little girl and then I’ll be quite happy enough.”

The old Grandfather said he was happy just to see them come and visit; but this time they insisted on DOING something to MAKE him happy so they cheerfully decided to take him for a walk outdoors until…. he asked if they didn’t think they had walked enough?  He was so weary he went to bed and they tucked him into it.  “What was the best part of your day, Grandfather?”  “Getting into this nice warm bed, I’m very tired.” was his answer.  They THOUGHT he would say, “Being taken for a walk.”

Then, the sick neighbor didn’t become happy when they sang many many songs (until they were hoarse!) to her.  She was expecting the typical basket of food and not a never-ending repertoire of singing.

They give a bouquet of wildflowers to the hired man; later they find them in the compost heap.

They decide to give up trying.

But then they learn of a sick classmate and they made her happy by giving her a doll and a book.

WITHOUT EVEN TRYING.

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My word of the year 2016 was COMPASSION and it especially pleased me to see this in Seth’s homework folder recently…..

“Your child is learning that people can show their compassion or others by saying something kind or doing something helpful.”

“Learning about how to show compassion for other people helps children take action on their feelings of empathy.”

I thought to myself, “what is the difference in *making people happy* and *showing compassion* and I think the answer is *the heart*”

Making people happy comes from ideas in your head.  It’s a job you decide to do.

Showing compassion is feeling empathy in your heart and THEN acting on that feeling.

However, it DOES make people happy when you feel empathy and compassion toward them and DO something to show you care.  How funny!

I think I’ll explain it better to the children later on today and see what they think.

I do know that Sarah was cold yesterday.  As I rubbed her little bare arms with my hands she said, “Your touches make me warm.”

That’s all it takes, and I was blessed by her sweet words.

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Happy Monday!

“I’ve had enough.  I’m not going to make any more people happy.”
But we did, all the same, because the next day Miss Johnson told us that Martha, a girl in our class, wasn’t coming back to school for a long time.  She was very, very sick and had to stay in bed several months.  That night, before I went to sleep, I lay awake thinking about Martha, and then I decided to give her Bella, my most beautiful doll.  This was because I knew that Martha didn’t have any toys at all…..In the morning when I told Anna that I was going to give Martha my doll, she went to get her nicest story book.  And after school we went over to Martha’s house……My, oh, my how happy she was!
“When we were outside the door, I said to Anna, “Isn’t it funny, now we’ve made someone happy without even trying.”

The Children of Noisy Village, by Astrid Lindgren (who also wrote Pippi Longstocking!)

in my heart there rings a melody

dsc_2429(grandpa’s old barn)

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The north wind brings forth rain,
and a backbiting tongue, angry looks.

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It is better to live in a corner of the housetop 
than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.

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Like cold water to a thirsty soul,
so is good news from a far country.

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Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain
is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.

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It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.

Proverbs 25:23-28

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Good morning, friends, how in the world are you?

Imagine!  God’s many numerous good things are all around us, oh to have the eyes to see them, really see them!  Even on the “down” days we are going UP UP UP, on our way to glory land.  Eternal life is NOW, it starts now, never to end……..as believers we have so much hope, it’s hard sometimes to keep our minds focused on the wonderful promises of God, but nevertheless they are there in the Bible, they are real and never changing.  Isn’t it incredible to have security in an unchanging Father?  He always loves us, always cares for us, always holds us in his mighty hands.

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My parents have a nice pumpkin patch, we all visited it and “blessed the pumpkins” by giving them a nice pat, you can’t help but want to touch them because they have very smooth looking skins.  I especially love the photo of son David using one as a pillow.

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cousins

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From a distance, the pumpkin patch.  My prediction is that it will be even bigger next year.

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Back at home now, Gentleman Gray is wondering where his friend Snickers is.  Snickers has been missing for a week and we are all beginning to worry.  They keep coming to me and asking about him, but so far there is no news, no letter, no message, no sign.

*sigh* I hate losing cats.  My guess is that the smell of skunk was too much for him.

Speaking of which, the house is smelling much better.  What a relief.  (Now if the dryer would stop screeching….)  Parker the dog is still smelly so he spends most of his day outdoors in the fresh air.

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The garden is still producing tomatoes and my favorite way to eat them…….

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……is generously placed on toasted & buttered Pepperidge Farm white bread, with salt and pepper (more pepper than salt).  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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I also made a banana bread.  (Grace’s favorite, turns out Michael likes it, too).

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“I can see you!” I remarked to the amusing Grasshopper.  He shifted and twitched.  Being upside down is not a safe place to be if your legs are your number one escape mechanism.

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Ah much better.

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I looked & looked without touching and he never did jump away.  I think he liked me, too, but most likely he was scared out of his wits.

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These are a most wondrous scented wild flower.

I looked it up in my wildflowers book:  nothing.
I looked it up online by googling CT wildflowers, yellow:  nothing
I looked it up again online, using the name of what I thought it was, “morning primrose”:  found it!

Its common names are: Evening Primrose (I was close), Evening Star, or Sundrop.

Wikipedia has a very interesting article about it here.

delightful.  You can smell them before you even get close to them.

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And then I decided to pick a pink bouquet.

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“It isn’t what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, but what you have in your heart.” ~ Author Unknown

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My heart.

Seth is holding the “tough guy ball” which looks JUST like a coffee bean, and is rewarded to a player after every practice.  The player takes it home for the night and then returns it at the next practice.

Look how handsome he is.  I tie his string and buckle his buckles and then bend down to double knot his cleats.  He looks around as I fuss, ignoring me as I adoringly serve him.  It is an honor for us both but only I am conscious of it.

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We arrived at the field’s parking lot for practice and as he briskly took his helmet out of the back of the car, I closed the truck and turned to him to say goodbye, “Have a nice practice, Seth!  Give me a kiss.”  (the test–to see if he would kiss me in front of his friends, I wouldn’t mind if he didn’t.  In fact, I was sure he would wouldn’t.)

Without hesitation, he came over close and gave me a quick, distracted kiss on the arm.  (lip height).  Like of course it was the most natural thing in the world to kiss mama before running off to football practice.

My heart.

**********

I have a song that Jesus gave me,
It was sent from heav’n above;
There never was a sweeter melody,
‘Tis a melody of love.

In my heart there rings a melody,
There rings a melody with heaven’s harmony;
In my heart there rings a melody,
There rings a melody of love.

~Elton Menno Roth~

best picture is at the end of the post

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get kids ready for school
run on treadmill for half hour (2 miles) while watching Unsolved Mysteries
shower, dress
make bagels for R and G
fold a ton of laundry that has been too easy to wash but not too easy to fold for some reason
while watching Mr. Selfridge
upload photos then abandon blog to snuggle on husband while he goes through emails
eat a cream cheese, sliced tomato and cracked pepper bagel for lunch
pop a bowl of popcorn and read a book (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince)
fall asleep
wake up to Dave home and clattering things in the kitchen, making perfect rice and a sauce to go over it (youtube video recipes) He needs help finding  lid, the cornstarch, and rice vinegar
make a cuppa
facebook

AND NOW I finally get a chance to tippety tap a blog post, a very long blog post.

Did you notice in the first photo how my cobalt canister broke it’s lid so it sweet talked the sunflower canister to give it it’s lid?  Now the poor sunflower canister has to use a pot lid.

After years of having a subscription to Country Living I let it run out and now get Cooks Illustrated, which I love reading through.  It’s a cooking magazine for readers, as most of the magazine is very long explanations of recipes and THEN the recipe.  And I also used the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook again, this time to make potato bread.

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while the dough rose

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I did a portrait session with a nonpaying customer.

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She thought I would be honored to take her picture.  Look how carefully she posed for me.

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Her brother was, as usual, taking a nap (which often run to 4 or more hours at a stretch).

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I did not realize I would end up with so much bread.  we ate it for days.  Buns for sloppy joe (sprinkled with herbs) and several loaves.  The potato in the bread kept it soft.

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This is what sometimes happens when I get a sad feeling.

Star Wars the newest movie became available to purchase on amazon prime so we decided to buy it and eat all the junk food we wanted.  (we were sad because Rich had left for a 10 day business trip).

Grace felt hesitant and guilty about the groceries and the boys were all like, “stop it.”

The Ben and Jerrys was for meeeeeeeeeee.

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We invited our friends and told them to wear pajamas.

Seths skinny little feet…so cute and dear.  (Grace just said I made the face I make when I see a cute baby).

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I took one picture during the movie because I saw something so sweet:

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Tessa in a love sandwich.

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thrifting (fiesta plates and amber stone dishes)

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Sarah made me laugh and laugh because she told me she wanted me to fix her hair “just like Tessa’s” which (she directed me) was a ponytail with a big chunk pulled out of the side.   She also had a hair band doubled around her wrist “just like Tessa” but I said, “Tessa doesn’t put hairbands on her wrist so tight her hand turns purple” and made her undouble it.  Tessa is all the rage in Sarah’s opinion.   I should tell her that Tessa would NEVER suck HER finger.

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My very favorite way to eat my morning eggs!  I found an old bag of frozen raw shrimp from Costco which had been in the deep freeze for like a year.  So I thought I would throw a handful in the pan along with some peppers (also bagged frozen).  When the shrimp and peppers were cooked I put them on a plate and then scrambled three eggs and ate it all together while closing my eyes and saying “this is SO good!”  Jacob cooks his eggs at the same time.  It’s fun to be together.

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journaling with a dog and a cat and also Grace (not photographed)

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David’s perfect rice from a few days ago.

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spring is here

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the sky is blue, whoa oh oh

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birds all sing as if they knew

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Today’s the day, we say I do,
and we’ll never be lonely anymore……

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Ethan started track season.

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Uncle Nate very generously sent a Tom Brady rookie card to Caleb in the mail, it was so sweet to see (don’t you feel like one of the best parts of being a mom is watching their faces when they’re happy?)

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Jacob and Emily playing with Parker the Dog.

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I made Alaskan coffee in my french press this morning and then….

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It was only like one cup that I dumped but it went everywhere.  Then I had to search for a dustpan.

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folding laundry in front of the TV

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I saved The Best for last…….Rich arrived back home yesterday and as soon as he came in the door he had three of his sons in a big hug.

I cry a lot because I’m so happy.

When the heart is full, the eyes overflow

 

old magic

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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…..

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“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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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

how can I keep from bragging?

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So I have this really talented feline who has a passion for ice skating.  She’s out there practicing constantly and so I thought I would take a few photos of her when I was letting the chickens out the other day.  She is completely self-taught!

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The pictures just do not do her credit.  She was doing a layback spin JUST before I took this one.  Lately, she spends most of her time working on her toughest skill, which is a triple axel followed immediately by a double toe loop.  I would have taken a video but I didn’t know how to do it. Plus I was standing stock stiff in shock.

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When she saw I was taking pictures she ran off the ice and up a tree.

She is very shy.

 

seven hours

In the morning the sea is so calm!  The sea of my life, that is.  After I get the children off to school, I have peace and quiet for seven.whole.hours.  The following six hours will be nonstop action and busy, but seven.whole.hours.  It’s quite strange, actually.  I do all my morning chores with no interruptions!  (Jacob is usually home until about 10 but he doesn’t do anything but sleep, take a shower, have a short conversation with me, and then leave.)

The laundry gets done!  The rooms get clean enough!  I can do anything!

But it’s not as fun without the children around, not as lively!  That’s the part that is strange.  I’ve almost forgotten how to live quietly.  Not that I’m complaining, mind you.  There is a time and season for every purpose under heaven.  I thank God for this new stage of life, I thank God that Sarah is healthy again, Jacob is settling into college and work, and the rest of the children are all doing well.  I love having the extra time to get things done for my family and even having time alone to do things for myself.  It’s a privilege that I am very, very grateful for.

Amongst other things, I’ve been taking pictures of my cats.

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“What.”

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“You folded the laundry but you didn’t put it away.  I thank you.”

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Sleeping as though dead.

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“I’m so pretty.”

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“Yawn.”

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“You made the bed.  I thank you.”

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“I thought I heard something.”

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“Drinking water on the counter from a turquoise fiesta bowl.  I thank you.”

(Sherlock is a very appreciative cat.)

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“They say I have the prettiest whiskers”

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“Waiting for the bus.”

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I realized my nail polish matched my cat.

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Today I sewed a couple of potholders.

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“Learn to be alone and to like it.  There is nothing more freeing and empowering than to learning to like your own company.”

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

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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.

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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.

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

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handshake

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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.

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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.

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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