sewn gingerbread house part 2 (completed)



Rich was at wrestling practice with David and Seth this morning so Sarah and I had a quiet house to work in (and on).  A quiet gingerbread house.  To tell the truth, The Grinch was on TV as we decorated.  And then a Christmas movie with three kittens in it.


The door was made with two small Hershey chocolate bars.  The gingerbread men (there are 9—one for each of our family members) are store-bought.

The house is situated upon a Sunflower fiesta pizza tray!


The roof is made of broken up shredded mini wheat biscuits.

I went outside to collect wintergreen and pieces of pine tree.  In order for them to stand up I had to push them into gumdrops.


The house is sewn together with Twizzlers.


(side details)


(back of the house with “S” for Shanda and Sarah)

(and special, and smart, and super, and stupendous)

We left sprinkles on the tray, and added shredded coconut, too.




The boys came home and Seth asked if he could nibble it.  I said “Not until Christmas.”  David was most impressed.  He helped me take the video and watched me make final touches.  “You’re an artist,” he said.



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!


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))


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


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



Seth     Caleb     Sarah

8     11     6


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



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.”


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

of muffins and monarchs

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“There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.” ~J.Calvin

Sarah Joy had a check up yesterday with her surgeon.  I hate to admit this but I did bribe her to be nice to the poor doctor.  Ever since her first surgery, Sarah has had a very negative reaction to all the nurses and doctors.  Dr. K, her main surgeon, has been so polite, kind, sweet, and loving to Sarah every step of the way and has felt Sarah’s dislike keenly, although she completely understood and did her best to reduce contact with her, keeping her conversations directed toward me and Rich instead.  I bought Dr. K a necklace and had it wrapped up very prettily, with a bow.  I gently explained to Sarah that she was going to bestow this lovely gift to her doctor with a smile and a hug, “OR ELSE YOU ARE GETTING NOTHING FROM THE GIFT SHOP after your appointment!!”  “WHY do I have to give her a hug?” she cried.  “Because it will be good for YOUR HEART to be kind!” I said, wisely, with a prayer that this would work.

Success!  What a joy!  She was more relaxed and talkative to the Doctor than she has ever been.  She made Dr. K so happy with the necklace, but most especially with the smiles and conversation and hug.

Sarah was told that she was healing very well and could now do anything she wanted to do, as long as it was okay with her parents. We were given lollipops and then went skipping down the hall to the gift shop, where Sarah happily chose a 1.99 bracelet as a reward for her good attitude.  The brothers were with us, too.  Caleb chose Jolly Ranchers (making me remember an old xanga friend), and Seth chose a stuffed animal.


When we got home, the only thing Sarah wanted to do with her renewed freedom  was go wild-berry picking with her Mama.  We walked up to the raspberry patch and picked big beautiful jewels of berries.  When we came back home to put on bug spray, she saw that Seth had turned on a movie and decided to take a rest from berry picking because she wanted to watch the movie, too.  (It was “Home”).  I went in my room to relax and when her movie was over she came in, looked into my eyes, and said, “Are you ready for a berry-walk?  Or do you still need to rest?”  I looked at her and thought, “I’m not the one who just had surgery.  If you don’t need any more rest, I don’t either.”

Off we went to pick BLUEBERRIES this time!  The bushes in the woods are small, and low to the ground–nothing like my parent’s property covered in nice tall, fat and mature bushes.  But we found “just enough” berries and the sun was at the golden hour…..making everything glow like magic.  We found blueberries of all shades.


This morning I woke up to my daughter right in front of my face, telling me it was time to wake up and make muffins.  My mind was willing but my body felt leaden.  I tossed and turned for a few minutes and then got out of the covers, not so much to make muffins, but because I was curious about how my monarch caterpillars were…….

I found Sarah waiting for me on the little couch and I kissed her face.  Together we went into the kitchen to make the muffins she naturally knew we just had to use the berries in.



She sat on a stool to scoop out batter with an ice cream scoop.

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She kept tasting the dough and saying “yummmmmmmm”.

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I filled the regular sized muffin tin and soon they were baking in the oven and we called up the boys to have their breakfast.




I ate a warm buttered muffin with a cup of coffee, perched on a stool in front of the aquarium which held a dangling caterpillar, two chrysalises, and a caterpillar.

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I knew this caterpillar was very close to shedding it’s skin so I determined to wait and get it on video.


These two attached to a stick that I put in the aquarium.  They were the compliant caterpillars, the other one was a rebel and escaped the whole set-up to attach to a iPhone charging cord.

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When I saw what it had done, I draped the cord over the top of the tank.  (I had blocked half the top with a cutting board.)

I sat for a while watching the dangling caterpillar gently convulse.  I knew it was almost time and called the children over.  We were able to get the whole process on video.

As I sat, I couldn’t help but think about how astonishing God’s creation is.  Why did he make these detailed, intricate creatures, and millions more beside?  He is The Creator–Creators MUST CREATE.  Just think of the things humans make and how we get “in the zone” as we sing, or draw,or sew, or garden.  That urge to create came from Father-God, we are like Him, in a very small way, because He made us in His image.  It is good and we enjoy it all.

So God created humans in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female.  Genesis 1:27

He brought the most mind-boggling things into existence—plants, humans, animals, all of these things reproduce and continue the cycle of life.  Self-sustaining creation.  A-MAZE-ING.  Overwhelming.  No one is like Him, but we have a touch of the divine within us, allowing us to enjoy life, and all parts of living.

No one is like you, LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power. Jeremiah 10:6


“If you have been afraid that your love of beautiful flowers and the flickering flame of the candle is somehow less spiritual than living in starkness and ugliness, remember that He who created you to be creative gave you the things with which to make beauty and the sensitivity to appreciate and respond to His creation.”  Edith Schaeffer

sarah and mama duet…piano and recorder

This is the most precious and adorable thing.  Sarah has been getting the recorder and playing along with me as I play hymns from the hymnbook.  I know without a doubt God loves it, too.  He loves Sarah and He loves a joyful “noise”……and I can’t help but smile big when I listen to her play.  I’m sure you won’t believe this but she’s never even had a music lesson!  And she’s only five years old!

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

words by Frederick M. Lehman

{this moment} home life

Rich and I were on the couch, I was resting my head against his shoulder and listening to the beautiful sound of my children singing together in the other room…..I never dreamed I would be sick this long (this is the 6th day).   I am very sleepy and weak.  It took much strength this morning just to take this video of Grace and Ethan singing….such is the pull of music.