Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Peek in my Room!

 My old dresser was *old*. It was an antique but not in great shape. The drawers were very large and hard to pull out and push in. The bottoms of the drawers sagged. I liked the *look* of the dresser (as I love old things!) but it was just such a pain to use that I dreaded putting clothes in it and taking them out. My parents had bought that old dresser at an auction when I was young. I have had that same dresser since then (and I am now in my 30's!). I decided I wanted to look for something else. That day I looked online and found a lovely dresser at IKEA at a very inexpensive price (it was almost half off!). The unfortunate thing was that our nearest IKEA is almost two hours away....and the sale was ending the next day! So...very (and I mean *very*) out of character for me...I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to drive to the city (that very day) to get this dresser (with Chris's blessing of course!). My mom agreed to go with me since she had been there before and knew the way. Madelyn and Jaxson went too...and X was working with his dad.

I dreaded the drive and wanted to back out...but didn't. We went....I got the dresser for a bargain and we even ate at Chick-fil-a! It was my first time! I love that they have the calories of their foods up so you can determine what you want to eat! I got the grilled chicken bites and the grilled chicken wrap! They were delicious and I stayed in my calorie limit! Can't beat that!! :o)

Chris was wonderful and built the dresser for me the next evening! It came in three heavy boxes and even with directions, I don't think I could have put it together as quickly (or as well) as he did! So here it is....perfectly organized inside and the drawers are so easy to pull and close! It is *fantastic*!

You may notice our floors are still not done. We have a couple rugs in our bedroom but never officially got the flooring done. It's a project we need to get to...but we always have more important things to finish first!

A little more in my bedroom...

Where I keep my exercise *stuff* (I workout at the Y most of the time...but I like to have options to do at home too when I want!)...

I love baskets...

...and books...

Winnie all curled up and sleeping on my bed! She and Stella-the-Cat take turns in this spot and the dog bed laying on the floor of Chris's side of the room. The cats really took it over...and so it has become the cat bed instead! ;)

I thought it would be fun to just share some of these pictures! :o) It isn't really anything overly exciting...but I love to see nooks and crannies, cozy spots and treasures in other peoples' homes so I like to include some of my own too!

Today will consist of homeschooling (for the children) while I continue to work on chores around our home. This afternoon we have a homeschool "Gym and Swim" at the Y (which is good....while the kids play I can get in a workout!) and then I must get groceries at some point!

We have lots of snow here in Western PA. I'm not a huge fan of snow....but I must admit it looks quite beautiful outside! Freshly fallen snow is my favorite ~ I just don't like it when it sticks around forever and gets muddy and icky! Looking out my windows right now though I see a beautiful scene! Snow laying on every branch of the trees...untouched and lovely! Snow is falling softly all around as well. It is an idyllic sight...truly!

Thank you for stopping by! I hope your week is really lovely!


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Decreasing of Self

 "No grace shines more brightly in a Christian than humility. Wherever self comes in, it mars the beauty of the work we are doing. Seek to do your work quietly. Do not try to draw attention to yourself, to make people know that you did this beautiful thing. Be content to pour your rich life into other wasted, weary lives, and see them blessed and made more beautiful, and then withdraw and let Christ have the honor. Work for God's approval, and even then do not think much about reward. Seek to be a blessing, and never think of self-advancement. Do not worry about credit for your work or about monuments to yourself; be content to do good in Christ's name."

~ J.R. Miller, Discovering the Hidden Essence of...Beautiful Living (emphasis mine)

Oh my...has it been a long and busy time since my last post. So much has happened along with the normal functions of a family and household! On New Year's Eve we attended a gathering at my Aunt and Uncle's house. This was a time with my dad's side of the family (my mom was sick unfortunately and couldn't make it....neither could my sister and her family). A few days later they had a house fire!! My aunt and uncle were both at home. Thankfully, they and their two cats were able to escape the house in time. You can see a little picture/video HERE.

My uncle built that house a long time ago....it has many levels. The bedrooms and bathroom were in the basement. The next level had a game room, walk in closet and sitting room. The next level was the living room and then at the top was the kitchen. Apparently their fire started from an outdoor wood burner near the house. I am not 100% sure on the details but it was so sad to get the call. I had been out and about running errands and getting groceries. I could hardly believe it! We had just been there a few days ago and now....it's burned.

Many fire departments responded to the fire. It was bitterly cold and they had a tough time getting the fire out due to the ceiling having a metal roof and being well insulated. It took hours!!! Many supermarkets and such in the area were so kind to donate coffee, hot dogs, and warm chicken for the firefighters! I didn't go out (as I didn't want to be in the way) but my mom and other aunts did to help them save things from the garage (and just be there for love and moral support).

It's just a house....but oh how sad it is to know that pictures and family mementos were burned or water damaged. It's heartbreaking. They have been working at salvaging some stuff though so that is a blessing. I know they have been talking with their insurance company and are already planning to build again. We praise God that they are safe and well. That is truly the most important thing to us all!

The other day a beloved friend (and sister in Christ) of ours (who is only in her late forties I think) had a stroke! It was such a surprise! Her children and husband were able to get her to the hospital. At first everyone thought it was her heart...but turns out it was actually a stroke. So, so scary!! But God is faithful and she is doing well! She's still at a hospital in Pittsburgh but I think she'll be back home soon to recover (which they expect fully)! It is quite a shock, though, to know a young, healthy woman can have something happen so suddenly like that! We praise God that He always knows though. There is such comfort in knowing that *nothing* takes Him by surprise!

Along with the busyness of life (and the goodness or suffering it brings) I have been praying to the Lord to make much of Himself in me and LESS of me. I feel like I must pray for this often as the Self Monster tends to want to take over a lot. I am in His Word daily and my mom was so right....last night we were talking and she said how she doesn't understand how anyone can truly live a faithful, obedient life to the Lord if they are not reading His Word! You can't just listen to your pastor or others....you have to be in His Word for yourself! What a gift He has given us in the Bible!

If you happen to be someone who reads "Jesus Calling"....I ask you (in love) to please stop and realize it is a *dangerous* read. If you want to know what Jesus says to you...read HIS book. To read some reasons why "Jesus Calling" has some serious problems you can go HERE or HERE.

If you would like some biblically correct and lovely books (sort of a short daily read in each...not chapter books) to go along with your Bible reading I recommend the following...

The quote at the top of this post is from the book by J.R. Miller. He is also the author of one of my favorite books called "Homemaking" (also known as "The Family"). I posted the links for the books above if you are interested in them. They are not affiliate links or anything. Just wanted to make it easier for you if you would like to get them. They are inexpensive and totally worth it! The devotions by Susannah Spurgeon (who was the wife of pastor Charles Spurgeon) also has a biography of her life in it! :) 

Neither of these authors speaks "for" Christ. They don't claim that they are writing the words of Christ (which is only done in the Bible)....Susannah Spurgeon writes lovely prayers to the Lord in her book. Miller writes little one-page snippets of wisdom....pointing us to Christ! 

In other news...

Madelyn loves to bake (I used to love to bake as well....but the temptation to eat what I bake is too great....so now I keep my baking to a minimum!) and she made cinnamon rolls for our guys! :) And no, I didn't eat even one! I am excited to be able to share that since the new year began I am down four pounds! I have been careful with my food intake and exercising daily (I have exercised almost daily anyway for the past 5.5 years but now I am making sure to really get the exercise in every day...except Sunday. That's my rest day!). 

I don't really eat out much....and definitely not fast food....*however* last evening I got a chance to eat for the *first* time ever at Chick-Fil-A! Everyone raves about it and I had never been near one to ever give it a try! Well...last night my mom, Madelyn, Jaxson and I were near one and stopped for supper! A part of me wanted to get the yummy looking waffle fries (it's like a battle in my mind!)....but I opted instead for grilled chicken bites and a grilled chicken wrap. They were both in my calorie range and were delicious!!! I was full after eating and truly enjoyed my first (and maybe only..haha) chance at eating at Chick-Fil-A! I also got to go to my first ever Home Goods. It was neat and I enjoyed looking around! I didn't get much but I was happy to have gotten to actually go to one (as I have heard others who have found some fun things there!).

Today I have kept busy with housework, filling orders for my etsy shop, getting groceries and soon I'll be heading in to the YMCA to exercise. When I get home it will be time for supper and the children and I will go over some of their schoolwork!

I am so thankful the temperatures are in the 20's and 30's now...oh my, the bitter below-zero temps we had for the past weeks were just terrible! Even though it is still technically *cold* and there's lots of snow on the ground....it feels *warm* compared to the other weeks! How is your weather?

Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm sorry for the long, rambling post! I hope your new year is going well. I pray the Lord is glorified in all you do and that you are enjoying your days....no matter your circumstances! I hope you will visit again soon!


Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year 2018!

Hello friends! Happy New Year! :) Already caught myself almost writing 2017 when balancing the checkbook this morning! I can hardly believe it is 2018! I admit, I love the freshness and *new*ness of a new year!

We have had a busy week...although we took off from doing our homeschool work ~ we had plenty other things to keep us going! This weekend included more family get-togethers and *food*! Too much *food*! I am so thankful to be back to eating healthy and well today! The fleeting pleasure of a tasty, sugary food is truly not worth it. I never feel great afterwards plus it doesn't help the waistline!

I went for a run after getting up this morning (yes, it is freezing outside...but I wore gloves and a hat) and worked up a good sweat! (I tried to sleep in....but just couldn't!) The morning has been full with tidying up after the weekend, balancing the checkbook, filling orders from my etsy shop, dishes, laundry and the like!

Pa stopped earlier. Xavier and Jaxson changed out of their pajamas and went with him to get some coffee at Sheetz (it's free on New Year's Day!). From there they were going to the meat market to help prepare the annual New Year's food! Chris and Madelyn have been here and are getting ready to go as well. They will eat sauerkraut at the shop and then help hook up the horses for sleigh rides! Madelyn has some friends coming too!

I don't eat sauerkraut ~ so I am baking some chicken and steaming some broccoli for my lunch. I will do some more chores around here and then I plan to go out and visit my mom for a bit! She got sick last week and just hasn't felt too great since. I'm hoping all the germies have died by now so I can visit (maybe I'll do a little cleaning anyway...just to make sure the germs are *dead*!).

On New Year's Eve we spent the morning at church. Once home we had a quick lunch and were able to take a little nap before I had to be up again to make mashed potatoes and baked corn to take to my aunt and uncle's house later in the afternoon. We spent our later afternoon/early evening there visiting and eating! We had a nice time! I got to snuggle my cousin's baby for a bit...as well as my one aunt's puppy (his name is Otis!)!

We came home around 7. We decided to make some popcorn and watch a movie (as we were trying to stay up as late as possible on this eve of a new year!). After the movie was over Jaxson and Chris worked on a puzzle (I think Madelyn helped at one point too)...

While they were working on this puzzle (which may take a while...I have a feeling this table will be up for the unforseeable future!)...Madelyn, Xavier and I played the "headbandz" game...but we didn't get out the actual game. We just used sticky notes and put them on our foreheads!

 I made it until about 11:30 and just couldn't stand my eyes being open any longer....although everyone protested I had to head up to bed! They all waited until 12 and soon followed! Such a blessing to bring in the New Year with my loved ones!

I need to finish my lunch (and my stomach and ready to eat!) and carry on with my day! I just wanted to take a quick moment to stop in and say *hello*! I hope you had a lovely New Year's Eve and that you are already enjoying the new year!! May 2018 be a year of God-glorifying, joy-filled moments for each one of you!


Friday, December 22, 2017

A Little Organizing in the Computer Room!

I am sure everyone is busy preparing for time with family and friends...so maybe no one will even see this post! But yesterday ~ I got the "bug" in me to get some re-arranging and organizing done in our computer room. It is not a well-lit room (I hate using the flash on my camera) so the pictures aren't totally perfect (which is good anyway...because this is the room that the walls need completely redone in! No need to see in detail! haha!)

Below is a built in bookshelf that was here when we moved in. I don't love it...as the wood doesn't even match the trim but it *is* a great place to store books for the children to read throughout the year. My laminator is there too (I love that thing! I want to laminate *everything*!)...

The picture of Ruthie on the wall (below) as well as the star are *not* centered at all...honestly, I just hung them on nails that were already in the wall. We *will* redo this room one day (Lord willing, of course) and all will be nice but for now...it works! Our first focus is to accomplish the things on the list so we are able to foster to adopt! So who knows when this room will get finished ~ and that's okay! :o)

It felt good to go through stuff, get rid of unneeded items and get things clean and organized! I love the feeling after tackling a big project! We moved some bookcases around and organized the books. Don't mind the children's school cupboard in the photo at the top (cupboard is to the far left). It isn't quite as neat as I like it...but I try not to get too worked up about it as long as it isn't crazy!

Overall....it isn't a really *pretty* space (although Madelyn's piano is on the opposite wall and pianos always make things look nice!) but it is super functional for the time being. You can see photos of the piano-side of the room HERE.

Jaxson and I just got back from the store to pick up a few last minute things! What a crazy time it was! Lots of people, long lines and busyness (and it was just at our local grocery store!)....I can't imagine how bigger stores are busy!

It is a nice, slow and relaxed day here today. It's so nice. Xavier did two days of schoolwork yesterday so he could go to work with his dad today (at my dad's shop). Madelyn went to do childcare for a couple hours at the Y this morning and then my mom was picking her up to go decorate cookies. The house is tidy, gifts are wrapped and laundry is laundering! ;o) I've got lunch cooking but need to go finish preparing it!

I hope you all have a lovely week ahead with your loved ones!
Thanks for stopping by!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Sweet Tradition!

Every deer season I make caramels. The men-folk spend weeks processing the deer (at my in-loves' meat market) while a few of us women (and my children) work at wrapping the orders! It's a super busy season for our family! One year, I decided to make the men a treat. I made caramels. Ever since then...it has become a tradition! If I try *not* to make them (because I always end up eating some which is torturous) the guys are always asking where the caramels are! :)

They are not difficult to make...but you must make sure you have a candy thermometer. You definitely don't want to over cook your caramels! I made two batches this year. The first turned out perfect. This batch I have pictured turned out too hard because my thermometer wasn't giving me the right temperature and I ended up cooking them too long!

If this is a tradition you'd like to try with your family and friends (or just want to make it *once*)....you can find the recipe HERE! :)

The days have been quite busy around here lately. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is here. We're still schooling and will just take next week off for a break. I know the children are really looking forward to that! :)

We hope to have a joy-filled Christmas...enjoying time with family. We have many plans that span more than just this coming weekend! Although we don't really *do* Christmas (as I have shared in the past) we still purchase gifts and do all the Christmas traditions with family. (I am not a *total* scrooge....haha!)

It is time to officially get the day started! Breakfast is cooking (by the lovely Madelyn)...we will have prayer/catechism together and I will read aloud to the boys for a bit. Then they will start their school work! I don't know when I will post again...it may not be until after the weekend so I wish you all a beautiful season with your loved ones and most of all may Christ be exalted (not as the baby in a manger only...but as our perfect Redeemer and Savior who lived a sinless life, suffered and died in our place and rose again! Blessed be the Name of the Lord!)

Until next time, Lord willing ~
Katy :o)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The *Baby* turns 12 and a Huge Update!!

My youngest turned 12 this past week! I'm not sure how we got here so fast....honestly, he seems like he was just in diapers a few years ago! We had a quiet evening at home to celebrate! I made tacos for supper and then Chris's parents and my parents came over afterwards for dessert! :)

 I was going to make him a cake but my mom offered to buy him an ice cream cake to which he heartily agreed! Madelyn and I had gotten him a fun hat at the Dollar Tree too, which he wore! He's such a good sport! :)

We spent the evening visiting and Jaxson did what he does most....draw! He loves to draw. If you check out my instagram you can see a picture of the grinch he drew! :) He and X took some of the cardboard from the box that housed our new couch which I posted about previously and they had fun drawing and coloring...

The days have been super busy lately....just so much going on! My poor husband has a terrible cold and yet he is pushing through! Luckily, the cold hasn't affected his sweet sense of humor!

Before I go....I have an exciting announcement!!

After deer season ends (and the busyness of the meat market with deer processing) comes Christmas....then New Years...and then normally it would be a time of rest for us. We would still have things to do, of course, but it wouldn't be quite so busy....but this year we will be spending time fulfilling a (huge) list of requirements for the newest calling we feel the Lord has placed upon us. We have applied and met with a foster care company....we are hoping to foster to adopt a baby/toddler! There is a list of things that must be done first though....such as a banister on our steps needs built (previous owners had removed it and we never built a new one), clearances need gotten (I have mine but Chris needs his and also we need to get our FBI ones done!), tons of paperwork and so much MORE!!! So, we have a lot to do....but we are looking forward to it! I was worried it was going to be a load on Chris and was not sure if this was a great idea (it all seems so overwhelming!)....but he said we just take one thing at a time and he is excited about this step we are taking! :o) I will be sure to keep you guys updated when I can!

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you are well!! I always appreciate your comments and emails! Have a great week ahead friends!


Saturday, December 2, 2017

A New Couch!

I am very excited to show you the new couch we got! Our last couch (more of a love seat) we had for a *long* time. It was well-loved. It was big and cushion-y (yes, I just made that noun into an adjective! haha!). It needed replaced so I have been on the lookout for something inexpensive but suited to our needs (don't worry...I had Chris's blessing with this!). I wanted something that wasn't huge....but allowed for more seating. I found this couch online....got it at a *great* sale price AND ordered through ebates first (do you use ebates? This isn't an advertisement post...but if you just go through their site...you get money back when you order online! It's great!! I got almost $20 back on this couch! If you want to sign up (it's free) please use my link: HERE!)

The top picture was taken with our regular lighting that we use. I took the bottom pics with the overhead light on so you could see things better! :) One thing I love about this couch is that it is small (takes up less space than our old couch) but it has more room to sit!! Another thing is that if the cushions ever tear or something, they can be re-covered! I'm really hoping it all holds up well though!

The children were sad about changing the couch! They were so used to our other one and didn't like the idea of changing it...however, Madelyn and I put this one together last evening and once everyone tried it ~ they loved it! There's more room to stretch out if they want to lay down...and it's just going to work well for us! :)

Mickey seems to like the new couch too! :)

Last night kicked off our town's Victorian Christmas. There are different things going on for it....people dressed up in Victorian clothes doing "living windows" where they act out scenes in store front windows around town, stores are open around town with sales, music, food....etc!

There is something called "Christmas Tree Lane" in our courthouse. My dad's business sponsored a tree that my aunt, Madelyn and Jaxson put up and decorated. You can (sort-of) see it below in the top window on the left. It is unique....it's a silver tree with blue lights! I had friends tell me it was their favorite tree up there...

Things have been busy around here with deer season. Chris, Madelyn and X are out hunting right now then will be busy skinning deer down at the shop. Jaxson had a sleepover at my parents' house to help decorate their tree. I just got home from teaching spin class at the Y. I'm showered and need to get something to eat as my stomach is growling at me! I have bills to pay and housework to tend to! I was just really excited to share our new couch. Little things make me smile!!! :o)

I hope your weekend is full of joy and cheer!
Thanks for visiting me here! :)