Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Kitchen Work Horse

I'm totally lovin' my new kitchen work horse.

It makes me smile and think of the Rugged Mountain Man's grandma every time I look at it.  She's now been promoted to Heaven.  It'll be so strange without her at our family Fourth Fest this coming Monday.  She always "put the pepper in the gumbo!"

Monday, June 27, 2016

Trash to Treasure

Occasionally I get around to being slightly more creative than painting a door.

And, I do love a good trash to treasure project. 

Usually the fruition of a project has more to do with the season, than with my desire to do so.

For a mama with four blondies always peering over my shoulder, I couldn't be more delighted with how this nursery sign for a friend turned out.

Because the baby will be bilingual, a little Spanish fun on the back. 
Here's hoping this little project will give you the gumption to jam on the brakes and throw your truck in reverse next time you spy some potential filled garbage on the side of the road. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Last Minute Pretty Mama

It's the continuing saga of a battle against yoga pants and foamy flip-flops, except this post deals more with what I throw on when I'm headed out the door in a hurry.

After a Tuesday morning weeding frenzy, I rotated the Blossoms through the shower as I pondered what in the world to throw on so I didn't look like a dirt-covered, hair be-frizzled country mama when I trekked the girlies across town to the dentist. 

After all, if you want folks to respect you, you've got to respect yourself. 

Raspberry & Navy Stripes

Take a look at the above outfit again.  It's really just a raspberry tee and a navy blue maxi skirt - basics, dressed up with jewelry. 

And, how 'bout this next new combo for me? I was a little tentative about putting teal and red together, but they are some of my most favorite colors.  Besides, summer is the time for bold colors! My sister and sister in law gave me a thumbs-up and they know what they're talking about, so I went for it.  At the last minute before the Rugged Mountain Man and I headed out the door, I switched out the black sandals for my red sandals. Boom, baby!!! The basics rocked it for me again!

Just a side note, my nails are not always painted and do not always have Jamberry wraps on them.  That part of my outfits is hypothetical and for inspiration purposes only.  A girl can have a little fun, right?!
Tryin' out Teal & Red

My mom graciously watched the Blossoms so the Rugged Mountain Man and I could have a quiet evening before heading to the hospital to visit my husband's grandmother the next day. In an effort to wind down a bit and do something light-hearted (for obvious reasons), I wanted to illustrate how a few good pieces are so useful and versatile for being well put together on any occasion... even at the last minute. 'Cuz no mama ever needs to throw an outfit together at the last minute, right?  #momsnark
It's one dress, three ways.
One Navy Floral Maxi Dress - Three Ways

Picnic?  Wedding?  Church?  Date night?  With the basics, you're ready!!!

There you have it, some good outfit fun to kick off the weekend. So, shop your closet, kiss your husband and snuggle your Blessings.

Until Monday,


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Time, a Daisy and His Designs

On a jaunt down the lane in the mountains by our cabin, Blossom1 delightedly discovered this exquisite bloom.  We both reveled in its jewel-like quality after the gentle rain that soaked the little hollow where our homey log cabin is nestled. 

Taking a moment to appreciate the water droplets on a "common daisy" may seem like a waste of time in our fast-paced, always going somewhere society.  I can't say enough how important these moments are.  You know my number one reason for experiencing nature is to draw closer to and truly realize the vast power and majesty of our Creator.  While the Blossoms may not remember every Mommy sermon I've ever preached to them, the indelible image of God's complex designs and His remarkable miracles of nature will be forever branded in their minds and spirits. 

Halting the pace of life to soak in these moments is a gift I endeavor daily to give to the Blossoms.  It's the quantity time with them.  It's me being there, side by side, to discover the daisy, to express amazement over the glittering pebbles and to marvel over the spotted salamanders.  It's me surrendering "my" time for His purposes. 

Stop a second, step forward and revel with yours over a "common daisy."


Monday, June 20, 2016

Bittersweet Times

Lately I've been so thankful that I live here in a delectably lush mountainous region of the East coast.  I wonder if the Blossoms realize that not everyone gets to have verdurous green mountains and chattering brooks as a backdrop for playtime rambles.  The girls and I recently ventured to the mountains to the cabin with my sister and nephew.  It was a smashing success, much to our delight!  It's refreshing to leave the housework behind and instead revel in the creation's splendorous praise of the Creator.  I've snatched a few moments here and there to read Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp.  Thus far, I highly recommend it as a solidly Biblical approach to parenting.  Never before has a parenting book resonated with my spirit as this one has.  Yesterday, the Rugged Mountain Man and I trekked a ways to visit his ailing grandmother.  Shepherding a Child's Heart provided stimulating and thought-provoking car conversation.  We both want to keep our eyes on the big picture ~ raising children who love God and live for God.  Despite the saddening circumstances of a Godly grandmother who seems to be leaving us behind to cross into the Celestial City, the Rugged Mountain Man and I did find it refreshing to have a little time for just the two of us.  The last few days have been bittersweet with the glad and the sad times. 


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Summer Snapshots

Things that make ya grin ~

A fresh and tidy room.

Baby bunnies!

Sisters in business.
A surprise milk can.

All green and gettin' ready to pick berries!

Surprise chocolate cake and a book from a good friend.

Sunlight and summer.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Where a Hankering Will Take You

"I've a hankering for some wild Columbine in my flower beds. 
Do you know where I could find some?"

Said the old family friend, "I think I could lead you to some.  Come on over."

And so we did.

The sunshine and fellowship were soul food.
There was

Laughing and rambling.

Scrambling and learning.

Revelling and chatting.

Giggling and duck chasing.

Scampering and duck searching.

Remembering and smiling.
Thanking and grinning.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Plunge and the Reward

Around 8:00pm nightly, my mommy-ometer plunges.  I've discovered that I'm not only one who finds myself in this nightly predicament.  This family can have a productive day or a fun day, it doesn't seem to matter.  Any little progress or good in the day is lost in a stomping, huffing fit of carnality.  As the clock strikes 8:00pm, Mommy starts to melt down.  Clutter attacks me as I walk through the dining room.  Crumbs trail me and purposely crunch under my feet to annoy, distract and torture me.  The whining decibel increases from manageable to over the top, once the time no longer reads 7:59pm.  The mommy who formerly was trying to do her best before the Lord, now sinks without struggle into the pit of despair. 

Ya'll know what I'm talking about, right? 
In this particular instance of my plunging mommy-ometer, I was venting as I was again cleaning up more messes.  It went something like this "I clean up the same stuff all day and what do I get in return?  NOTHING, just more crumbs.

In the midst of my tirade, I heard the quiet, but distinct, voice of the Holy Spirit whispering,

"That's not true. 
There's always the eternal reward."

I literally took several slow deep breaths and tried to rein in my out of control self, exhibiting the very selfishness that causes my children to do the thoughtless things I was ranting about.  It wasn't an instantaneous end, but the Spirit held my attention.  The promise of the eternal reward has been an encouragement to me since that evening.  Heaven is my Home and I know that laboring as a mother here on Earth is amassing rewards in Heaven. 

Oh Lord, let me never lose sight of eternity.


Monday, June 6, 2016

Six New Series for American Girl Book Fans

I heart the American Girl books.

My sister and I read them all, way back when there were only three (gasp!) American Girls. Following tradition, my girls love these books as well. I trust the American Girl books. The Blossoms are getting a good dose of history and I'm confident that quality character traits are always reinforced within their stories. But, when you've exhausted the American Girl books, what to do?

Why not try some of these?

History Mysteries series by various authors

These books are actually by American Girl but you may not always find them beside the American Girl books on your library's shelves. I've read a few of them, as I love a good mystery. The girlies have read virtually every one on the library's shelves, as well as a few on Kindle. If you're thrifty, they occasionally go on sale on Amazon.  Like the original American Girl books, they are set throughout history, but the main characters aren't official American Girls.  The writing is what you'd expect from American Girl - quality and the plots are suspenseful.  Perfect, in my book.

Blossom1 - "My favorite is Hoofbeats of Danger because it's about horses! I also liked the Night Flyers."
Blossom2 - "I liked those ones too because they're about animals and they're really interesting."

The American Adventure series by Norma Jean Lutz

I stumbled on these gems at the homeschool convention a few weeks ago. Regrettably, I bought only four. They devoured them in mere days. I should've taken the man's advice and bought every book they had. After all, they're out of print. Thank goodness there are such web sites as, ebay and Amazon.  The Blossoms are craving more of these adventurous paperbacks.

Blossom1 - "I enjoyed the books because they're super adventurous and exciting."
Blossom2 - "So far, I liked Dream Seekers."

Liberty Letters series by Nancy LeSourd

I picked up these beauts at another convention stand. Apparently, Blossom1 had been already been eyeing them up. There are four in the series. She's chomping at the bit for me to snag the remaining two for their shelves. Liberty Letters are usually written as correspondence between two young girls during periods of American history.

Blossom1 - "I couldn't put it down, it was so good!"
Blossom2 - "I didn't read 'em yet."

The Royal Diaries series by various authors

Our local library just got a set of the Royal Diaries for their shelves. In only two trips, Blossom1 and Blossom2 have read almost all of them. They keep talking to me about ladies from history I formerly knew very little about. Isabel, Victoria, Kristina, Cleopatra and so many interesting ladies are featured. They are written as the diaries of each of these royals. I wouldn't mind a set for our home library, as they are gorgeously bound in hardcover and gilt gold, giving them an endearing heirloom look.

Blossom1 - "It is cool to realize how their actual lives were."
Blossom2 - "They are interesting and I like how it's about royal people."

My America series by various authors

Also written in a diary format, the My America series covers many different eras of history. From the Titanic to Pearl Harbor and so many more, I've even picked up some My America books at garage sales. If you have sons, there are a few of the My America series that are written from the perspective of a young boy. This is another great firsthand historical fiction option that whets the girls' appetites to learn more on different periods of history.

Blossom1 - "My favorite was The Starving Time."
Blossom2 - "We Are Patriots is interesting because it's about surviving in the Revolutionary War."

Living History Readers series by various authors

Pioneers of America - Click Image to Close

How 'bout another fantastic convention find?!  Queen Homeschool Supplies has about thirty of these Living History Readers.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that they cover many, many, MANY different periods of history.  I wasn't thrilled with the price of $9.95 each, but I couldn't find them elsewhere.  Since I love the living history vantage point and I loved that they were essentially collections of short stories, I bit the bullet and bought four.  If you've got a reluctant reader, these are at the easier end of the reading spectrum and the short stories approach isn't as overwhelming as a traditional chapter book might be.  The Blossoms read all four books the week I got home.  I've never regretted the $40.00 I paid for them and I hope to buy more in the future.  It should be noted that the Rugged Mountain Man, an avid American history buff, picked these up a time or two and enjoyed the unique glimpses into real history as well.

Blossom1 - "I enjoyed reading about their adventures and how they saved their families during the pioneer times."
Blossom2 - "I liked them a lot.  They were interesting because there were cool stories."

There you have it, friends, the tried and true historical fiction recommendations from your resident 8 and 10 year old experts on all things American Girl and the like. 

Happy reading!


Friday, June 3, 2016

These Summer Days

Summer days...
These days, I pray, think and write in my journal in the early mornings, sometimes alone, sometimes with the Littles. 

These days, I spend more time with my family, for lunch, for meadow jaunts and for playground romps.

These days, I say yes more often, even to the "I want to make a rabbit front-pack carrier and I need duct tape" requests.
These days, I relish the toothless 6 yr old comments, surprisingly intelligent 8 and 10 yr old thoughts and the curious questions of a 3 yr old blond pixie.

These days, I marvel at how big the Blossoms are and how much personality they have. 

These days, I relish the faithfulness of a Rugged Mountain Man.  Together we savor the dusky stillness and the critters' praise to the Creator.  With the much heralded appearance of the first lightning bug, we can now say,

"This is summer."

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Micro Farm Humor

"Excuse me, I was wondering
when you'll be turning the air conditioning on?"